Skip to main content

Full text of "Lives and exploits of English highwaymen, pirates, and robbers"

See other formats





Page 1. 









" Little villains oft submit to Fate, 
That great ones may enjoy the world in state." 







He alone is a truly brave man, who, being powerful, thinks 
it disgraceful to insult the feeble : many who pass for brave in 
the estimation of the world, are yet cowardly enough to com- 
mit base and barbarous actions : what else can be said of those, 
who possessing strength of mind and vigour of body, employ 
their faculties to rob and oppress the weak and ignorant ? It 
is an easy matter to assume the semblance of fortitude and re- 
solution; but few, very few, are the individuals who really 
possess those noble qualities : particularly such hardened vil- 
lains whose lives and exploits are so faithfully recorded in the 
following work. 

In presenting to the public a new edition of the " Lives ol 
English Highwaymen, Pirates, and Robbers," the editor is 
tempted to indulge in a few more observations which, uncalled 
for, perhaps, by those who seek in a book of this nature for 
amusement alone, are nevertheless not misplaced or unimpor- 
tant, when it is remembered that the utility of the work is to 
be vindicated, and its object to be approved. 

It is incumbent on the Author or Editor of a book to indicate 
the aim and end of his performance ; hence the necessity for 
a preface. It is the privilege of the reader (a privilege, we 
fear, confirmed by custom) to pass it over without perusal j — 
hence its inutdity. 



It may be well, in the first place, to offer a short account of 
the literary fate of the various characters who figure in the 
succeeding pages. In the year 1711? Captain Alexander Smith 
put forth a small volume, containing the " Lives of Noted 
Highwaymen, Robbers, Thieves and Pickpockets," who had 
flourished during his own period of existence. The demand 
for this volume was so great as to induce the Captain to present 
his readers with a second, and subsequently with a third, 
volume. These latter volumes having been got together for 
the purpose of supplying the appetite of an excited public, 
were made up of the biographies of way-side heroes, and round- 
house rogues, upon whom justice has long since laid her inevi- 
table fingers ; together with a few of his own time, whom the 
Captain, during the preparation of his first volume, had either 
overlooked or had deemed unworthy of commemoration. The 
lives contained in the second and third volumes were, accord- 
ingly, disposed without the slightest regard to chronological 
arrangement or biographical propriety. 

After the lapse of a few years, Captain Charles Johnson, 
having previously published " Lives of English Pirates," turned 
a magnetic eye towards the labours of Captain Alexander 
Smith ; and, converting them to his proper use, introduced 
his own pirates to the highwaymen, thieves, and pickpockets 
of the other, and with very few additions of his own, and with- 
out any sensible or intelligible transposition of the order in 
which they had formerly appeared, published the whole in one 
folio volume. 

From this performance, our object has been to select the 
best and the most important lives; excluding, for the most part, 
the meaner pickpocket, and the as yet uneducated thief, arrang- 


ing them as nearly as possible in chronological succession, and 
adding such subsequent lives as bring down the work nearly 
to the present period. 

We have, we confess, restricted ourselves, with a few excep- 
tions, to a notice of English pirates and highwaymen. The 
former, by reason of the increased severity of our laws against 
piracy, have of late years almost disappeared from the face of 
the blue waters ; and the latter, partly from the circumstance 
that highway robbery is no longer a profitable trade, in conse- 
quence of our paper currency and banking system, but chiefly 
from the establishment of an efficient patrole, have become 
altogether extinct. 

We wish, therefore, the present work to be considered, not 
in the light of a mere calendar of crime, but as a collection of 
biographies of two distinct classes of persons, interesting in 
themselves, and displaying actions and adventures which are 
never likely to be performed in this country, or by the natives 
of this island again. 

There is another reason (of itself a sufficient one) why we 
have left the undisciplined pickpocket and the common thief 
of former days to travel to oblivion without impaling them on 
our biographical pen ; they are so completely outdone in inge- 
nuity, skill, extent of resources, and fertility of invention, by 
the more accomplished professors of the present day. It may 
be both interesting and important to preserve the adventures 
of the bold and enterprising highwayman ; but we conceive that 
the petty details of the mean and dastardly pickpocket, or the 
miserable minutiae of wretched baseness on the part of our mo- 
thief, are more appropriately relinquished to the pages of 
the Newgate Calendar, and, perhaps, perused with the most 


intense interest in the instantaneous chronicle of the daily news 

It is maintained by a few well-disposed, but, we cannot help 
thinking, mistaken persons, that works of this nature, laying 
open, as they do, scenes of depravity and of almost unparal- 
leled wickedness, are calculated, by rendering vice more visible, 
to weaken the abhorrence with which it should be regarded. 
They urge, or appear to do so, that while villainy is kept out 
of sight, it cannot very well enter into the mind ; and yet, with 
a philosophical and religious faith in the inherent goodness of 
human nature, they also believe it so prone to evil that you have 
only to mention vice to endanger virtue, and that the former 
is never so irresistible as when she appears to us in her own 

It may be true, although poetical, that " beauty unadorned 
is adorned the most," but we are not aware that vice is beau- 
tiful, or that she participates in the same dishabille advantages 
as beauty. On the contrary, it is more popularly believed, 
that — 

" Vice is a monster of such hideous mien. 
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen." 

The verification of which, if true, cannot be better ascertained 
than through the effect produced by the perusal of the follow- 
ing work, in which her " hideous mien" is plainly enough to 
be discerned, even by the weakest optics or the most oblique 
vision. In truth, vice is never dangerous except when she 
comes disguised in the semblance of virtue ; and the " falsi' 
Duessa" ceases to be attractive immediately her disenchantment 
is completed. She is not loved or followed for her own sake, 
but for the sake of virtue, whom she, to the unpurged eye, 


resembles; and if we wanted one further evidence of the essen- 
tial goodness of human nature, m spite of its weaknesses am* 
its follies, we should find it in the universal execration and - 
horrence with which confessed and open wickedness is de- 
nounced by mankind. 

We contend, then, that not only is there nothing in th 
following pages that can for a moment be supposed to endange. 
the most elastic principle, but that a perusal of this work can- 
not fail to conduce to the service of morality, in the confirma- 
tion and strengthening of worthy and stable principles of 

It is impossible to dwell upon recitals of this nature, involv- 
ing the conduct and character of so many individuals, of all 
degrees of talent, from the highest to the lowest — some sin- 
ning, perhaps, through original and blindest ignorance — others 
committing crimes, in spite of their better knowledge, and in 
defiance of their own conscience, — and all (with very few excep- 
tions) coining to a disgraceful and untimely end — without rising 
from the perusal with the conviction that, looking upon religion 
and morality with Dr. Paley's eye of expediency alone, not 
only is honesty the best, but it is the sole policy, 

With these remarks, we leave this book to the indulgent 
consideration of our readers. 




Robin Hood 1 

Thomas Dun 17 

Sir Gosselin Denville 21 

Sawney Beane 23 

Thomas Wynne 26 

Thomas Witherington 28 

James Batson 33 

John Cottington, called " Mulled Sack" 42 

Captain James Hind 45 

Gilder Roy, called " The Bonnie Boy" 56 

Captain Philip Stafford 62 

Claude du Vail 67 

Captain Dudley 73 

Jonathan Simpson 83 

William Davis, called *' The Golden Farmer" 84 

William Nevison 89 

William Cady 95 

Patrick O'Brian 100 

Thomas Rumbold 102 

Thomas Simpson, called '« Old Mob" 115 

JohnBird 123 

Thomas Cox 126 

Colonel Jack 129 

Captain Howard 156 

Nathaniel Havves 161 

Tom Rowland and Frank Osborn 165 

James Whitney 168 

The Waltham Blacks 175 

Timothy Buckeley 181 

Thomas Jones 183 

Arthur Chambers 185 

JohnOvet 190 

Captain Evans 192 

Thomas Dorbel 195 

Dick Adams 197 

William Gettings, called " the Hereford Boy 201 

Edward Bonnet i 203 

Richard Keele 208 

Will Ogden and Tom Reynolds 210 

John Price 212 


Joseph Blake 215 

Jack Shepherd , 217 

Jonathan Wild 221 

Richard Turpin 223 

Henry Cook 235 

Henry Simms, called " Young Gentleman Harry" 237 

James Maclaine 247 

Eugene Aram 259 

George Barrington 273* 


Sir Henry Morgan 291 

Captain Avery 303 

Captain Martel 312 

Captain Teach, called " Blackboard" 314 

Captain Charles Vane 323 

Captain John Rackam 328 

Captain Edward England 331 

Captain Davis 346 

Captain Roberts 354 

Captain Kennedy 363 

Captain Worley 306 

Captain Lowther 308 

Captain Spriggs , 373 

Captain Roche 375 

Captain Gow 377 

Captain Upton. 379 

Captain Edward Low 380 

Paul Jones 385 







Of the robbers and highwaymen of ancient times, history fur. 
nishes us with but few examples, and with fewer facts ; we have 
however deemed it expedient, as a collection of biographical sketches, 
like the present, might be considered imperfect, without some no- 
tice of them, to present our readers with such accounts as we have 
been able to glean from authentic sources of those who appear to 
have been the " most celebrated in their vocation;" and by so do- 
ing form a perfect chronological biography of men, whose calling, 
in this country at least, is now happily extinct, and whose crimes 
and excesses, have been met with the universal execration and ab- 
horrence of mankind, and now only serve " to point a moral or 
adorn a tale." 

The earliest of these worthies who bore the enviable title, and of 
whom we have any authentic account, was the renowned outlaw of 
" merry Sherwood forest," 


of whose predatory exertions of power, — enrichment of the poor 
by the plunder of the wealthy, — defiance of kings, magistrates, and 
judges, let the ballads of his own time speak. 

It appears that he was born at Locksley, in Nottinghamshire, a 

place no longer in existence, about the year 1160, in the reign of 

X/iftg Henry II. and is reputed to have been Earl of Huntingdon, 

a title to which, it is said, he had no small pretension. There is 



no doubt but that his lineage was noble, and his true name Robert 
Fitzooth, which a pliant commentator conjectures was easily cor- 
rupted by vulgar pronunciation into Robin Hood. 

In his youth he U stated to have been of an extravagant and law- 
less disposition, and, having dissipated his inheritance, insomuch 
that it had become forfeited, and being in the predicament of out- 
lawry for debt, he sought an asylum in the woods, and levied con- 
tributions on the wealthy passenger who might chance to traverse 
his self-granted territories. 

In these forests, of which he chiefly inclined to Barnsdale"in 
Yorkshire, Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, and Plompton Park in 
Cumberland, he reigned for many years, with all the authority, iJ 
not in all the splendour, of a legitimate sovereign ; and his subjects, 
in process of time, amounted to the number of a hundred archers, 
" men most skilful in battle, whom four times that number of the 
boldest fellow r s durst not attack." 

The royal forests at that period abounded with deer, and, conse- 
quently, afforded to Robin Hood and his retainers a sufficient sup- 
ply of provender during the year; and it is apparent that there 
could be no lack of fuel for the purpose of dressing their venison. 
Henry II., however, determining to punish him, for making such 
rueful havoc among his fat bucks, had him formally accused and 
summoned bold Robert to court, to answer the charge The Earl, 
however, preferred the company of his own good fellows, to that of 
the King's courtiers ; and refused to obey the mandate. Upon this, 
Henry dispatched an armed force to bring him in, alive or dead. 
The Earl met his enemy most gallantly, and his archers galled the 
King's men so much with their first flight, that they fronted about 
towards London, and marched home as speedily as their wounds 
would allow them. This was deemed rank treason ; and the Karl 
was forthwith declared an outlaw. 

At this time, it was rumoured at court, that Huntingdon was about 
to lead to the altar, Matilda, the daughter of Lord Fitzwater — as 
brave a wench as ever brushed dew from green sward — who had been 
Robert's companion from her childhood ; and, since she had been 
able to bend a bow, had shone by his side in the King's chase*, 
outragingthe forest laws with almost as great audacity as her favorite 
Fitz-Ooth himself. The King thought this would be on excellent 
opportunity of waylaying the Earl, and appointed young Sir Rabh 
Montfauqon, with a chosen troop, to perform the service. 

The youthful Knight divided his men into equal numbers, and 
dispatching his Lieutenant with one half to seize upon the Castle 


of Locksley, which he knew would be but ill-guarded while the 
Earl was away at the wedding, with the remainder he proceeded, 
to the place where the ceremony was to be performed. 

Robert and Matilda stood before the altar, and the sleek and rosy- 
Abbot had already begun to officiate, when a thundering noise was 
heard at the gate, and the iron tread of a number of soldiers soon 
rung upon the marble floor. It was Sir Ralph and his troop. 
Striding up to the altar, the Knight placed his drawn sword between 
the youthful lovers, and exclaimed, " In the King's name, I for- 
bid this marriage; and do attach thee, Robert Fitz-Ooth, as a false 
traitor ! — Yield thee !" The Earl's sword was Irawn in an instant; 
he struck down Sir Ralph's weapon, clasped Matilda in his arms, 
and after warmly kissing her lips, commended her to her father's 
care. " We must part awhile, my sweet Maud," said he, " but 
we shall meet again. Although the ceremony be incomplete, hence- 
forth, I would have thee bear thyself as the bride of Fitz-Ooth." 
fle then made a sign to his followers, and commenced a furious 
attack upon the soldiers, hoping to cut his way through them ana 
escape. A desperate skirmish ensued. The King's men stood it 
bravely; but Robert, with the aid of his good sword, and backed 
by his bold adherents, fought forward to the chapel-door; then, 
retreating with his men to an eminence, he exchanged his sword 
for a bow and quiver, and did such execution among the pursuer* 
that they soon thought proper to desist. 

King Henry was sorely grieved at the Earl's having thus evaded 
him ; and swore, in his wrath, that the castle and lands of Locksley, 
which Sir Ralph's Lieutenant had seized, should be the reward of 
that man who could bring in the Earl. Upon this, Sir Ralph, who 
had been suddenly smitten with the beauty of fair Matilda, and 
thought that the possession of Locksley castle would certainly be 
a passport to old Fitzwater's favor, which was one step towards that 
of his daughter, began to collect men again. He soon mustered 
a chosen band of followers, and started in high spirits towards the 
haunts of the outlaw. He beat up all the country round the Ouse 
and Trent, but without the least success. His followers fell off by 
degrees, and, at length, he was left with only a single squire to 
pursue his adventures. 

The nexUnorning they rode forth to the green to see the sports 
of Gamwell Feast. While the Knight was yet enjoying the delici- 
ous odour of the gathered flowers with which the place was bedecked, 
he perceived a flutter in the assembly, and every eye suddenly turned 
in one direction. He looked round and beheld a fair lady in green 


and gold, riding up under the trees, accompanied by a stout and 
strong Friar in grey, and several fair damsels and gay youths. The 
lady had a quiver by her side, and bore a bow and arrow in her hand. 
Her hair might vie with the glossy black of the raven's wing; it 
curled up like clusters of dark grapes under her round hat, which 
was surmounted by a plume of feathers that lay down as if habitu- 
ally borne back by the wind, Sir Ralph, on their nearer approach, 
recognized the fair Matilda Fitzwater, and her ghostly adviser and 
companion, Friar Michael, whom he had seen at the Abbey, on 
the morning of the fray between his men and the followers of Fitz- 

A number of foresters, equipped in trim dresses of Lincoln green, 
came up in another direction, and hearty greetings ensued between 
the new comers and the Gamwells. Matilda was crowned Queen 
of May ; a hogshead was set abroach, and the hot logs soon began 
to crackle under the buck haunches which the foresters had brought 
to regale themselves and their friends upon. The sports of the feast 
commenced, and after many games and pastimes, the trial of arch- 
ery ensued. A golden arrow and the hand of the May Queen in 
the dance were to be the conqueror's rewards. Sir Ralph obtained 
a bow and arrows from young Gamwell, but was outshot by the 
whole of the foresters ; and had the mortification to see one of them 
lodge his arrow's head in the golden circle, and receive the prize 
from the beautiful Matilda. The lady was then led forth by the 
successful archer and invited to try her skill. Sir Ralph could not 
but most deeply admire the surprising grace of her attitude, as, 
gently curving her fine figure and taking her station, she drew the 
arrow to its head, and, loosening it with a motion that gave a slight 
flutter to her plumes and ringlets, lodged it side by side in the cir- 
cle with that of the forester. The youth then led her to the dance, 
and Sir Ralph gazed on her fascinating charms until he began to 
feel most severely the pangs of baffled love and jealousy. Turning 
his eyesfora moment on the forester's face, hediscoveredlineaments, 
with which he felt that he had been before acquainted. On perusing 
them more attentively, he was confirmed in his suspicions. Ap- 
proaching young Gamwell, he asked him if he knew the forester 
who was dancing with the May Queen. " Yes," replied Gamwell, 
__ " I do j — his name is Rob." " He is Huntingdon, the Outlaw, 
and would be a prize worth taking ;" said Sir Ralph, " do you think 
your fellows would assist ?" — " Aye— one side or the other."—" But 
which, think you?"—" That you will find, an* you try."—" I have 
the King's warrant to take this man— how should I act, think you ?" 


— " I would counsel thee as a friend, Sir Knight, to take thyself 
off as quietly as thou well canst ; for wert thou better backed than 
thou hast ever yet been, here, in such a cause as the taking of yon- 
der green forester, you would get nought but bruised ribs and bro- 
ken skull. To say nought of old Sir Guy of Gamwell and his 
yeomen, nor the foresters yonder, there is the May Queen can 
fence, and draw the bow, and handle the stick and staff, all in most 
dainty perfection ; that Friar is a match for as many men as there 
are feet in his oak staff, and, methinks, it's a full cloth yard above 
his sconce as it stands/' 

Sir Ralph, on hearing this, deemed it prudent to keep himself 
quiet ; and stealing off the first opportunity, he hurried to Notting- 
ham, and there demanded an armed force of the Sheriff, charging 
him, nomine regis, to assist in capturing tha Outlaw. After some 
little delay, a body of fifty picked men were accoutred for the en- 
terprize, and with Sir Ralph and the Sheriff at their head, marched 
away towards Gamwell Hall. 

" By the mass, Sir Knight," quoth the Sheriff as they rode along, 
" I'll wager an acre of the best land in my keeping, that this out- 
law — this fellow that was once Earl of Huntingdon, is now the very 
rogue Robin — Robin Hood, as he is called, that abides here in 
Sherwood Forest, with a troop of forest blades in Lincoln Greens 
who take toll of all comers. I have fallen into perils, times not 
to be numbered, in striving to take him. Sir, he kills the King's 
deer, and robs all wealthy travellers on the road, with a grace 
and courtesy not to be surpassed. More especially delighteth he 
in spoiling those in authority; Abbots or Bishops are sweet prey to 
him ; them he robs with infinite glee, and leaves their purses as 
lean as their bodies are usually fat. Why, Sir, the most grave and 
saintly Bishop of Hereford, passing hereby lately with his retinue 
and high selerer, after the collection of divers rents, lit upon a set 
of seeming peasantry, roasting buck haunches (most monstrous 
rogues!) on the King's way-side. Incensed at their disloyalty, in 
regaling their carrion carcases with that flesh which is, by statute 
limited to the maw of Kings, or their appointees, the Bishop seized 
the curs, and ordered them to be brought bound here before me at 
Nottingham. With that, up starts a tall and proper fellow, and 
with one wind of a bugle-horn, brings up from the green-glades and 
coverts, sixty fair bowmen, all arrayed in the grass-colored livery of 
Robin. The very nose of the Bishop waxed pale at first, but when 
they tied his holy person to a rough beech, it partook of the hue of 
his enemies' garments, and by degrees, wained again into a dim, 


but steadfast cerulean blue. Sore wrath was he, as you may guess, to 
be, by these rogues, enforced to say mass for their sins in the green 
aisles of the forest ; but, strange to say, in despite of his fears, he 
gorged gloriously on tfc Ar venison ; which, he affirmeth to this day 
to have been gifted with a flavor surpassing all things he had here- 
tofore tasted. After grace and good wine, they made him pay for 
his provision, with the full sum contained in his purse and that of his 
selerers, enforced him to make the stump of an oak his pallet for the 
night; and, on the morrow, sent him off with small comfort in his 
heart, and a rueful rheum in his ghostly eye. The Bishop soon 
raisedthe country upon Robin, and hunted the mad despoiler of other 
men's gold into a cot ; whereupon the forester changed clothes with 
the old woman abiding therein, and the Bishop brought her arrayed 
in a pair of Sherwood breeches and green doublet to Nottingham in 
triumph. By the Lord, Sir, in despite of the reverence due to my 
Lord Bishop and my own shrieval gravity, I could not but trow 
right lustily at the discovery, and the mutual railing between the old 
woman and the Lord Bishop. Ha! ha! assure thyself of this, Sir 
Knight — the Earl of Huntingdon on being despoiled of his Castle, 
and outlawed, hath turned a gallant thief, as well as a gay forester ; 
he is the Robin Hood who doeth such deeds hereabouts, as make 
honest men, who have more coin than courage, turn up their eyes, 
nuiver in their hose, and double-bar their doors, which were passing- 
ly well bolted before." 

The Sheriff had scarcely done narrating the adventure of the Lord 
Bishop with Robin, when he perceived a party approaching an old 
bridge upon which his nag had just set foot. This party consisted 
of sweet Maud Fitzwater, with her constant attendants, young Wil- 
liam Gamwell, of Gamweli Hall, who, it may be as well to notice, 
was our hero's cousin and best friend, Robin Hood himself, and some 
half a score of forest lads in their usual array. The Shrieve looked 
at his fifty men, and thought them such good odds against fifteen, 
that he forthwith prepared to make an attack. The first arrow from 
the opposite party, found a home in Sir Ralph's arm, and he was 
obliged to fall back with an attendant to get it extracted. A flight 
from all the foresters' bows followed this, which had been aimed by 
Matilda herself. Friar Michael's staff, after making two or three 
eddies in the air, fell at last upon the centre of the vortex, which 
happened to be the Sheriff's pate, and dislodged him from his saddle 
in a twinkling. Right sturdy were the blows which ensued upon 
the ribs of Nottingham's sheriff; who, finding the operation unplea- 
sant, roared lustily for reprieve. This, at length, was granted by 


the Friar, at Matilda's intercession, and the Sheriff found himself a 
prisoner fast locked in the gaunt grasp of a forester, whose iron fin- 
gers clutched his wrists like felon's manacles. 

The staff of Michael did good service on the pates of many of the 
Sheriff's force; several flat noses, dislocated shoulders, and peeled 
sconces, bore testimony to its hardness, and the vigor with which 
it was handled. After a short fight, the Nottingham men clapped 
spurs to their horses, and such of them as were lucky enough to es- 
cape the sword of Robin, the cudgel of Midge the miller, the arrows 
of Maud and the foresters, and Michael's oaken toy, galloped off 
towards Nottingham, leaving both their leaders in the hands of those 
whose capture they had anticipated. 

Matilda drew the arrow from Sir Ralph's arm — bound up the 
wound with her scarf — told him that she might have lodged the wea- 
pon in his heart, had she pleased — and, bidding him and the Shrieve 
never again molest her brave Robin, under pain of shafts more 
mortally directed, rode off with her party. On approaching Arling- 
ford Castle, where her father dwelt, she made on towards the gate- 
way, and Robin, with his friends, bent his course to the Green- 

The next day, a large civil power arrived at Arlingford Castle, 
and, in the king's name, demanded the body of Matilda Fitzwater, 
for wounding a Knight on the King's duty, and aiding an outlaw 
in the resistance and bruising of the Sheriff's power. "Sheriff's 
pease-pudding," cried the testy old Baron ; " away with you for a 
set of false lying vagabonds! talk to me of my daughter's wounding 
— Go your ways, scoundrels, or my long-bows shall be made ready 
to welcome you." The Baron then brought out his followers : and 
the civil party, seeing the castle so well defended, deemed it prudent 
to retire, and journeyed to the neighbouring Abbey, there to de- 
mand the body of Friar Michael. The Abbot, however, refused to 
deliver him up, but promised to call a chapter of Monks, and pass 
such a sentence on him as he might be found to merit. "This will 
not do," said they. " But it shall do," quoth the Abbot ; " and if it 
will not do, nothing shallbe done. So, I pray you, Sirs, retire ; or 
I shall be provoked and lay you under the bitter ban of Holy Mother 
Church." Terrified at this threat, the party rode off to Gamweli 
Hall ; where, after a vigorous resistance on the part of Sir Guy and 
his yeomen, young William Gamweli was taken prisoner, carried 
to Nottingham, and condemned to gibbet and halter without mercy. 

Meanwhile, the Friar was tried by his peers, the monks and sen- 


tenced to imprisonment and privation from buck's flesh and wine. 
This Michael could not endure; he roughly remonstrated; the 
Abbot was positive, and, on Michael's attempting to retire, the 
monks hemmed him in. Whereupon, Michael lifted up that staff 
which had done such mischief at the bridge, and beat his dearly be- 
loved brethren most grievously. After mowing them down right 
and left, he finished by levelling the Lord Abbot, by a most ortho- 
dox and right clerkly punch in the paunch from the point of his 
sapling, and wishing them a hearty " Peace be with you," took his 
departure for the Greenwood; gave himself wholly up to Robin 
Hood; and, till the storm should blow over, determined to be a true 
^orester. According to the custom of Sherwood, he was baptised «j 
joining the outlaws with a flask of canary, and was thenceforth call- 
ed Friar Tuck. 

Little John, after having fought like a true yeoman in defence of 
young Gam well, followed him aloof towards Nottingham. No soon- 
er did he hear of his condemnation, than he started like a roebuck 
towards the wood, and brought the doleful tidings to the haunt of 
Robin Hood, just as the baptismal of Friar Michael had concluded. 
Robin resolved, if possible, to rescue his cousin from the noose 
intended for him by the Sheriff How he sped in his attempt so to 
do, we shall presently see. 

The Sheriff of Nottingham, albeit still sore with the Friar's 
bruises, resolved to attend the execution of young Gamwell. Wil- 
liam was led forth pinioned; his sister and father stood by him at the 
foot of the ladder in a most melancholy humor; he had refused the 
proffer of the Shrieve's priest, and tarried for the one whom Little 
John had promised to provide. After some delay, the holy man ap- 
proached, under the conduct of John. No sooner had he gained the 
side of the youth, than, whispering in his ear, he drew forth a bugle 
and broad sword, threw off his cloak, and appeared a forester in 
green. With one hand he lifted the bugle to r«s mouth and blew a 
shrill blast; while, with the other, he cut the cords that bound his cou- 
sin. Gamwell instantly wrenched a sword from one of the sheriff's 
men, and he, with old Sir Guy, Little John, and the forester (who, 
it will be guessed, was Robin Hood himself), kept the sheriff's peo- 
ple at bay, until a hundred stout lads of the Greenwood, in obedience 
to the blast of their leader's bugle, ran up to their rescue. After 
putting to flight the civil power, they hastened towards the forest ; 
and young Gamwell, deeming his transgression unpardonable, join- 
ed the outlaws, and was in his turn christened by the renowned name* 


of Scarlet. Little John abode with him in Sherwood, while olu 
Sir Guy and his daughter removed for safety sake to a distant seat 
of the family in Yorkshire. 

About this time, King Henry the Second observeth a most quaint 
and right dainty chronicler of the doings of Robin Hood, to whom 
we are somewhat indebted, went to make up his quarrel in the next 
world with Thomas-a-Becket. Richard ascended the throne, and 
while he waged war against the Saracens in Palestine, Robin Hood, 
with his adherents, feasted on his deer, and levied contributions on 
his lieges in Sherwood. Prince John was now paramount in Eng- 
land; and happening to see the young heiress of Arlingford, while 
sojourning in the vicinity of Nottingham, he became, according to 
tradition, desperately enamoured of her ; and, presuming that it 
would be taken as an honor to the house of Fitzwater to make its 
rose his concubine, he dispatched one of his courtiers to solicit the 
fair person of Matilda, as his leman. The bluff old Baron wanted 
to slay the messenger outright ; but fair Matilda interceded in his 
behalf, and he was only tossed in a blanket, and set in the stocks to 
allay the fever consequent on the pastime ; then ducked most royal ly 
in the ditch, and set in the stocks again to dry. 

Prince John took a freak into his head to be in a mighty passion 
aoout this; he vowed to chastise the old Baron's insolence, and to 
get the lady by force of arms. With this intent, he sat down be- 
fore the Castle with a chosen band of troops. The first night of 
his encampment, he was awoke by a horrible clangour close to his 
tent. The besieged had sallied out, and were at work, pell-mell, 
among their enemies. A party of foresters had at the same mo- 
ment attacked his rear. It was evident that the Baron and his 
people were intent on cutting through the camp, and escaping. 
Furious at the idea of losing the fairest heart in England, John 
sallied forth to the very centre of the moil. There he discovered 
two youths fighting side by side, the one wearing the colours ol 
Arlingford, the other a bonny suit of Lincoln green. In the 
slenderest of the two, he recognized Matilda; and gathering some 
of his stoutest fellows together, he attacked and separated the lady 
from her companion. " Fair huntress,' said he, " yield thee to 
me — wilt thou?" — "Win me, if you can," was the reply — "attempt 
it, if you dare." The words were accompanied with a blow from 
her baldriclc, which would have cleft the royal pate in twain, bur 
for the helmet which protected it. Prince John was too courteous 
to try to harm his lady-love ; but he soon found himself compelled 
to be on the alert in his own defence. Matilda had slightly tinged 


her blade in his blood twice or thrice, when her sword broke on 
the ridge of his nose or the edge of his buckler, history saith not 
which, and she was just on the point of seizure, when some unseen 
hand dealt the Prince a blow betwixt the shoulders that would have 
levelled a bullock. 

To this uncivil salutation, John was indebted to that staff which 
was evermore found in the company of Friar Tuck. That worthy, 
having thus disposed of the Prince, knocked about his heroes like 
nine-pins, rescued the lady, and followed the Baron with his men, 
who were already trooping off with the foresters, a body of whom 
had, as we said, attacked the royal troops simultaneously with the 
besieged, towards the heart of Sherwood. • 

Thus ousted from her parental roof, Matilda, with her father's 
leave, agreed that the ceremony of marriage betwixt herself and 
the lord of her heart should be completed. Friar Tuck officiated, 
and Little John fulfilled very satisfactorily the grave function of 
Clerk. " Now," said Matilda, " I am thy bride, Robin: but 
though we be wedded, yet we will not bed; the laws of chastity 
enjoined in Sherwood, neither you nor I will infringe. Let us 
tarry in patience for awhile. King Richard will, it may be, soon 
return ; I feel sure he will not only restore my father to Arlingford, 
but pardon thee, Robin, and make thee Earl of Huntingdon again. 
Meantime, let us. submit to the accustomed change of name on 
joining the outlaws of Sherwood. I take no title: I will not be 
called by courtesy, Countess of Huntingdon until thou art its 
rightful Earl; neither shall you name me as heretofore, Matilda 
Fitzwater, nor fair Maud, nor aught else but Maid Marian ; for 
maid will I be, albeit a bride, while thou art an outlaw." This 
was agreed to by all parties, and the Baron journied to old Sir 
Guy Gamwell's, to abide with him till the return of Cceur de Lion 
brought better days. 

Little John, who was one of his old master's body guard on the 
journey, on his return to Sherwood, met with a stranger on the 
borders of the forest, riding along in the most melancholy mood. 
" Ho! Sir Rueful," cried the page, " turn thee hitherward, thou 
must go and dine with my master to-day." " And who is he?" 
asked the stranger. " Robin Hood." " Aye I have heard of him 
often, and will now see him ; yesterday one of us would have had 
a broken skin rather than 1 would have budged a hair's-bivadth lor 
thee; today, do as thou wilt with me." Little John felt interested 
with the youth's words and appearance, and by degrees wormed 
out the secret of his melancholy as they went along. He had been 


a favored wooer of a brave wench, until a rich old Knight entered 
love's lists with him ; and to his rival did the girl's parents assign 
the prize. 

Little John repeated this story to Robin and Marian, and the 
youth was presently brought before them and seated by the side of 
the forest Queen. " How art thou called, gentleyouth?" inquired 
Marian, "Allan, fair lady," replied the youth. '"Tis Allan-a-dale," 
grunted sturdy Midge the miller. " I know him — a proper lad, and 
handles a quarter staff like a true yeoman's son. By the thumb 
of my grandfather, and draws the long bow right bravely : almost 
a match for Little John himself — by this cudgel." " Aye, sayest 
thou so, Midge ?" quoth Robin, " and when is this Knight to be 
wedded to thy love, lad ?" " To-morrow, at Edmistow Church." 
" Is she content, think you?" " Not so, indeed, or I would 
scarce sigh for her — she is enforced to the match." " Then mark 
thee, Allan, I will prevent it." 

The next day Robin disguised himself as a harper, took little 
John with him, and went to the wedding. The Bishop and his 
train were waiting' the arrival of the decrepid bridegroom in the 
church-porch, when Robin approached them. After he had played 
an air or two on his harp, to the Bishop's great entertainment, 
the Knight neared the Church with his intended bride and her 
friends. " Hark you, Bishop," said Robin, suddenly stopping 
his minstrelsy ; this is not an equal match ; the man is sixty and 
the maiden sixteen ; I will not have it completed." " Thou wilt 
not have it," cried the enraged Knight, " stand by, or I'll break thy 
bones." " I shall not stand by nor budge unless the bride say you 
are her chosen one." 

The girl attempted to speak, but her emotions overpowered her, 
and she burst into tears. " Mark you that,' Bishop !" cried Robin, 
and he blew a blast that brought up Friar Tuck, Midge, Maid 
Marian, and Scarlet, and some three-score bowmen in green, with 
young Allan-a-dale at their head. The Bishop and Clerk were 
speedily stript of their robes, and Tuck and little John arrayed 
therein in their stead. The lovers were united with all befitting 
form ; and leaving the old Knight to rue the loss of the precious 
jewels in which he had bedecked the bride, young Allan-a-dale 
tripped lightly away in the company of the foresters. 

It would ill become us, who profess to be historians of Robin 
Hood, to omit narrating his rencounter with the Friar of Dun- 
church, whom Robin met one day with a fat buck across his saddle. 
The Friar did not know Robin, who happened to be a-foot, and 


armed with a short quarter-staff only. " How now," quoth Robin, 
" Sir Priest, what is this the ensample of loyalty you set, to kill 
the King's deer thus by broad daylight ; nay, and that too within 
the range of the Sherwood bowmen ; who engross, by the old right 
of belt and shaft, ail venison which fatteneth beneath the trees 
whereof they themselves make a canopy ? Should Robin hear of 
this" — " A pish for Robin Hood," replied the ghostly brother of 
Dunchurch, " thinkst thou, churl, that one who has appetite for a 
haunch, and manhood and skill enough to kill the best buck in 
the range, would quail at the sound of Robin's name, or even the 
sight of his verdant doublet ? Mass ! I have lived long enough 
hereabout, to hear of that rogue's doings, and every bold trick of 
his sets my limbs itching to have a moil with him. He hides him- 
self deeply in these coverts, or, by St. Botolph, I would have 
notched his head with cudgel ere this. I shall not die content until 
I bring down a buck under his nose. Would that I might find 
grace enough in the eyes of St. Dunstan to cast me in Robin's way, 
so that I might try if his skill at quarter-staff be such as men repute. 
By'r lady I would maul him." " Why thou vain churchman," quoth 
Robin, " hast thou so much self-love in thee as to think thyself a 
mate for him thou speakest of? Alight, I entreat thee, most reve- 
rend Friar, and I will teach thee, in some seconds, that I — even I 
whom thou dost now look upon so contemptuously, will score thy 
pate in such fashion, that thy own fraternity of Dunchurch shall 
not know thee again." " What hast thou to wage with me," re- 
plied the Friar, " provided I do condescend to open thy pipkin — 
what hast thou to wage with me on the event ? For we of Dunchurch 
do not toil for nothing." " Here are thirty gold pieces," replied 
Robin, tossing a purse on the glade, " which I will place against 
thy horse and buck, that I despoil thee of the power of chewing 
venison or cygnet — that I ruin thy jaw-bone, encased as it is in fat, 
within less time than the emptying of a full flask." Upon this, 
the Friar alighted, and to it they went pell-mell; after a few blows, 
the Friar, whom Robin found much more expert at handling a staff 
than he had expected, was stretched on the grass, and bellowed 
aloud for quarter. Robin then made himself known, took the horse 
and buck, but in consideration of the address he had shewn in 
cudgel-playing, invited the Friar of Dunchurch to his haunt, where 
Tuck so well entertained him, that he abode three days in the 
Greenwood, and was so loath to depart, that it was not before Tuck 
who began to look upon him as an intruding rival, threatened him 
with the flavour of his eight-foot staff, that the Friar of Dunchurch 
returned to his home. 


Another of Robin's mad freaks was to go in disguise to a shooting 
match, which was held near London, where, in the presence of 
Prince John himself, he bore off the prize of archery from the very 
flower of the Prince's bowmen ; and although at that time large 
rewards were offered to any one that would take him, Robin return- 
ed safe to his Marian and merry men in the Greenwood. There it 
was not safe to attack him ; for he had by this time, gathered so 
strong a force of stout archers, that he bade the royal power de- 
fiance within ten miles of Sherwood. Stow says there were not 
four hundred taller, braver, or better marksmen in the country ; 
and thenceforth the Knights of Prince John's court, shewed no 
disposition to contend with them. 

His old enemy the Sheriff of Nottingham, was now dead, and 
our hero longed for an opportunity to play some prank on his suc- 
cessor, who, before his elevation to the Shrieval dignity, had fre- 
quently endeavoured to do him an ill turn ; and this, as it is said, 
was the way he contrived to effect his purpose. 

One day, he met with a butcher going to market, and bought his 
whole cargo, and his mare with it, which came together to about 
twenty pounds. With these Robin immediately went to market, 
sold his bargain presently, making such good pennyworths, that 
all the people thought he had stolen the meat. He then put into an 
inn at Nottingham, and treated all his customers, to the value of 
five pounds ; which coming to the Sheriff's ears, who was at the 
same time in the inn, and taking him to be some prodigal spark of 
whom he might make something, intruded into his company, and 
after some short discourse, asked him, if he had any more meat to 
sell. " Not ready killed," said Robin, " but 1 have two or three 
hundred head of cattle at home, and a hundred acres of land to 
keep them on, which if you will buy, I'll sell you them a penny- 
worth." The Sheriff snapped at the proffer, and took four hun- 
dred pounds in gold with him. Away they rode together; but he 
was very much surprised at the melancholy place the supposed pro- 
digal had brought him to, feared they should meet with a man called 
Robin Hood, and began to wish himself back again ; but it was 
too late; for Robin winding his horn, presently came Little John, 
with fifty of his companions, who were commanded by Robin, to 
take the Sheriff to dinner with them ; assuring them, he>had money 
enough to pay his share. Accordingly they got a collation ready 
for the Sheriff, and after dinner was over, led him into the forest, 
and there took all his gold from him, good part of which he had 
borrowed from the innkeeper, before he had joined Robin Hood. 


Robin Hood and Maid Marian had reigned King and Queen of 
the forest glades for .aany a mooa, when one afternoon a strong 
and sturdy-looking Knight was hailed on the borders of Sherwood 
by a young archer, who was leaning forest-fashion against a beech- 
tree, and boldly bidden to follow to Robin Hood's haunt. " And 
who is Robin Hood ?" asked the Knight. " The Lord of these 
green woods," was the reply; " and he takes toll of all passers. 
Will you come with me and pay it, or shall I enforce you to make 
me my master's treasurer?" " Enforce me! thou insolent boy !" 
" Boy, I am not ; neither am I man, and yet, methinks, if yon 
will dismount, 1 should make you deem me more of the latter than 
you now seem to think I am!" 

The Knight dismounted, and without very little ceremony, com- 
menced the fight. Before, however, either was harmed, the staff 
of Tuck peered over the bushes. In a moment he was between the 
combatants. " What!" cried he, " assailing our Virgin Queen !" 
" Queen !" quoth the Knight, " if she be woman, never was wench 
like her." " That it were flat treason to deny — is she no* Marian ? 
Why ! What sayest thou for bearing blade against her ? Wilt thou, 
by way of change, have a little of my oak staff' ? Or wilt thou go 
and eat with us? Wilt fight, or wilt eat? Or wilt eat and fight, 
or fight and eat? I am thy man any way." 

The Knight liked the humour of Tuck so well, that he grasped 
his hand in amity, knelt in homage to the forest Queen, and follow- 
ed them to the wood. Robin welcomed him most courteously, and 
after finishing to despoil a monk, who was fast bound to a tree, he 
invited him to eat and be merry. Right jovial grew that knight, 
and deeply delighted seemed he with his green- vested host; so that 
when Robin asked him for his gold, he bid him search and take all 
with a free welcome. " And would it were more," quoth he, " for 
thy sake." " Say you so?" said Robin, " then 1 take no doit of 
it. Thou art a true man, and shalt fare freely, without a penny 

At this moment, a heavy tread of horses was heard, near at hand, 
on the greensward ; Robin and his merry men seized their bows and 
stood on the defensive. Anon a party of horsemen rode up; and 
the leader of them sprang off his horse, embraced Robin, and ex- 
claimed, " What hast thou forgotten me? I am Sir William Lee, 
to whom this day twelvemonth thou didst lend four hundred pounds, 
on the bare credit of his word. It saved my lands from the rapaci- 
ous claw of the holy church ; and here am I come, pursuant to my 
promise, to pay thee with grateful thanks." Sir William now turn- 


ed to the stranger kaight, and dropping on his knee, with doffed 
cap and joyful voice, exclaimed — " God save King Richard "' 

The foresters all did the like, and the forest rang wi,b shouts 
in honour of their royal visitor. " Up! up !" cried Cceur-de-Lion, 
for it was, indeed, the King himself, newly returned from the Holy 
Land; "Up! all of ye! I have heard your story, Robin, and thine 
too, fair lady. Your father shall sit in Arlingford again, and if 
Robin will quit the glades, and resume his title, he shall be a peer 
of Cceur-de-Lion : your followers shall be pardoned, and such of 
them as you part with, I will entertain; and if ever I hold with 
priest, or confess me to a cowl, thou Friar shalt be, if thou wilt, 
that priest, and thine that cowl." 

" I thank thee, brave King," said Tuck, "and were it so, the 
only penance which I should ever enjoin for thy sins, would be the 
drinking of some extra flasks of right good canary wine, in which 
penance 1 would so mortify myself as to partake ; but b y the mass 
my liege, wert thou to command my poor attendance, I should be 
bold enough to say, that while these live (pointing to Robin and 
Marian) no Prince or peer shall seduce their Friar from them." 

The foresters joyfully embraced the King's proposal, and the 
nuptials of the lovers were soon after formally celebrated in the 
presence of old Sir Guy, the Baron and even as some chronicles 
haveit, of brave King Richard himself, at Locksley Castle, where 
Robert Fitz-Ooth was installed again as Lord of its broad lands, 
and rightful Earl of Huntingdon. 

The Friar was domiciled in Locksley Castle, and lived as merrily 
there as he had in the forest ; frequently breaking forth and 
slaughtering a deer in his former abiding place for his own present 
diversion and future- eating. The Earl of Huntingdon forsook all 
his former freaks and lived in good repute for many years ; but his 
tranquillity was broken in upon soon after the death of his friend King 
Richard and the usurpation of the throne by his enemy John, and 
the Earl was compelled to quit Locksley Castle and take to the 
wood again. Dropping their titles of Earl and Countess of Hun- 
tingdon our hero and heroine resumed their old forest names of 
Robin Hood and Maid Marian ; although, it has been quaintly 
observed, the latter appellation was then as much a misnomer as 
that of Little John. The Friar of course followed his friends to 
the woods and used his staff to as much purpose as e7er. Many of 
Robin's former adherents soon flocked round him, and he reigned 
for several years as absolutely in Sherwood as he had done before 
he had received the pardon of Cceur-de-Lion, 


Little John, Scarlet, and Midge the miller, with young Allan- 
a-dale, now the forest .ainstrel, were still alive, and gloried in 
enrolling themselves under the gay banner of their former lord 
and lady, Robin Hood and Marian. 

Robin levied toll as before upon fat Friars and portly Abbots, 
relieved the needy whenever he could, and killed and ate the King's 
deer, until he grew old. A volume might be filled with his exploits, 
bat we have said enough to give our readers a sufficient idea of 
the character and doings of this forest hero. ^ 

Different accounts have been given of the manner of his death ; 
but that which seems entitled to most credit, states that he who had 
so long dared bolt and baldrick at last fell a victim to the treachery 
of a Monk. In the olden days surgery was frequently practised 
by those in religious orders, and it is told in tale and sung in ballad 
that Robin having sent for a Friar to bleed him, the rogue contriv- 
ed to kill instead of cure him. His death took place in the year 
1217, when he was above sixty years of age. He was buried in 
Kirkley park, in the county of York, near two hillocks, called 
Robin Hood's butts, at which, tradition says, the Sherwood fores- 
ters used to shoot when Robin was lord of the Greenwood. 

Upon the decease of their beloved leader, the band broke up, 
but what was the lot of Marian, or whether she survived Robin or 
no, it is not in our power to say. A monument was erected above 
his grave, bearing the following inscription, with which we shall 
conclude this brief outline of his life. 

Robert, Earl of Huntingdon, 
Lies underneath this little stone. 
No archer ever was so good, 
His name it was bold Robin Hood. 
Full thirty years, and something more, 
These northern parts he vexed sore ; 
Such outlaws as he, in any reign. 
May Eng.and never see again. 



This man lived in the time of Henry 111., and of his sangui- 
nary life and cruel death we have the following account : — 

Thomas Dun was born in Bedfordshire, in the time of Henry 111. 
Even in his childhood, he was noted for his pilfering propensities, 
and the cruelty of his disposition, and in after life his atrocities were 
so many, that our space will only enable us to find room for the 
recital of a few. 

His first exploit was on the highway to Bedford, where he met a 
waggon full of corn going to market, drawn by a beautiful team of 
horses. He accosted the driver, and in the middle of the conversa- 
tion stabbed him to the heart with a dagger which he always carried 
about his person. He buried the body and mounting the waggon, 
proceeded to the town, where he sold all off and decamped with 
the money. He continued to commit many petty thefts and assaults, 
but judging it safer to associate himself with others he repaired to 
a gang of thieves, who infested the country, leading from St. Alban 1 
to Towcester, where they became such a terror that the king was 
obliged to build a town to check his power in the country, and which 
retains his name to this day, — Dunstable. 

This precaution was, however of little avail, for he pursued his 
courses to a great extent. Among his gang were many artists who 
enabled him to pick locks, wrench bolts and use deaf files with 
great effect. One day having heard that some lawyers were to dine 
at a certain inn in Bedfordshire, about an hour before the appointed 
time, he came running to the inn, and desired the landlord to hurry 
the dinner, and to have enough ready for ten or twelve. The com- 
pany soon arrived, and the lawyers thought Dun a servant of the 
house, while those of the house thought him an attendant of the 
lawyers. He bustled about, and the bill being called for he collect- 
ed it, and having some change to return to the company they waited 
till his return, but growing weary, they rang the bell and enquired 
for their money when they discovered him to be an impostor. With 
the assistance of his associates, he made clear off with a considerable 
booty cf cloaks, hats, silver spoons and every thing of value upon 
which he could lay his hands. 

After this adventure Dun and his associates went and put up ;,t, 


anotuer inn. They rose up in the night-time, insulted the landlord, 
did violence to the land T ady, then murdered them both and pillaged 
the house of every thing valuable. Dun had an animosity to law- 
yers and he determined to play a rich one a trick. He waited upon 
him, and very abruptly demanded payment of a bond which he 
produced, and the gentleman found his name so admirably forged, 
that he could not swear it was not his own handwriting. He assured 
Dun however that he had never borrowed the money, and would 
not pay the bond. He then left him, telling the lawyer that he 
would give him some employment. A law-suit was entered int8, 
and several of his comrades came forward and swore as to the debt 
being just, and he was about getting a decision in his favour, when 
the lawyer produced a forged receipt for the debt which some of his 
clerks likewise swore to, upon which Dun was cast. He was in a 
great passion at being outwitted, and swore he never heard of such 
rogues as to swear they had paid him a sum which was never 

This was one of the few instances where he did not display that 
barbarity of disposition which is evinced in all his other adventures, 
•md which makes us refrain from the enumeration of many of them. 
He became however such a terror to every one, that the Sheriff of 
Bedford sent a considerable force to attack him in his retreat. 
Finding that his strength was equal, if not superior to that of the 
Sheriff, he commenced the attack and completely routed them, tak- 
ing eleven prisoners, whom he hung upon the trees round the wood to 
scare others by the example of their fate. The clothes served them 
to accomplish their next adventure, which was a design to rob a 
nobleman in the neighbourhood. They proceeded in the attire of 
the Sheriff's men and demanded entrance in the name of the king to 
make search for Dun. After searching every corner they asked for 
the keys of the trunks to examine them which when they received, 
they loaded themselves with booty and departed. The nobleman 
complained to parliament against the Sheriff, when upon investiga- 
tion, the trick was discovered. 

Nothing prevented Dun from accomplishing any object which 
he had in view, as he possessed the greatest temerity and cruelty 
that could fall to the lot of man. He would under the disguise of 
a gentleman wait upon rich people and upon being shewn into their 
rooms murder them and carry away their money. 

There was a rich knight in the neighbourhood from whom Dun 
wished to have a little money. Accordingly he went and knocked 
ct bis door, which the servant opening, he enquired if Her unwtar 


was at home, and being answered in the affirmative, he instantly 
went up stairs and familiarly entered his room, some compliments 
having passed, he sat down in a chair and began a humorous dis- 
course which attracted the attention of the knight ; Dun then ap- 
proached and demanded a word or two in his ears. Sir, says he, 
my necessities come pretty thick upon me at present, and I am 
obliged to keep even with my creditors, for fear of cracking my 
fame and fortune too. Now having been directed to you by some 
of the heads of the parish as a very considerable and liberal person, 
I am come to petition you in a modest manner, to lend me a thou- 
sand marks, which will answer all the demands upon me at present 
" A thousand marks !" answered the knight, " why, man, that's 
a capital sum ; and where's the inducement to lend you so much 
money, who are a perfect stranger to me?" — " Sir, you must be 
mistaken, I am the honest grocer of Bedford, who has so often 
shared your favours." " Really, friend, I shall not part with my 
money but on a good security, and what security have you ?" 
" Why, this dagger," says Dun, (pulling it out of his breast) " is 
my constant security; and unless you let me have a thousand marks 
instantly, I shall pierce your heart !" this threat produced the 
'ntended effect, and he instantly delivered the money. 

Having lost his road in the country, he arrived at a house where 
ne enquired if they could accommodate a benighted traveller with a 
bed. The gentleman of the house politely told him that all his 
house was occupied with friends and relations, who had just arrived 
to be present at the celebration of his daughter's marriage, which 
was to take place the next day, otherwise, he should have been 
very welcome. When he was unwillingly departing, the gentleman 
informed him, if he was not superstitious, and had courage enough, 
there was one room unoccupied, in which he might sleep, but that 
it waj haunted. Dun was above all silly apprehensions of that 
nature, and accepted the offer, and after being well entertained, 
retired to his room, the company all praying for his quiet rest. A 
good fire had been made in the room, and when all the house was 
at rest, he lay anxiously waiting for something to appear; when 
the door of his chamber opened, and in came the bride, of whom 
he had taken particular notice at supper. At first he was at a loss 
to know whether it was only a resemblance, but soon satisfied him- 
self that it was the real lady, though, whether she was walking in 
her sleep or not, he could not say, he however resolved to watch 
her motions. She seemed to look stedfastly upon his countenance, 
and then going round the bed, gently turned up the clothes, and 


lay down by his side, where she had not lain long, before she drew 
a rich diamond ring from her finger, placed it on the pillow, and 
left the room with the same silent step as she had entered it. 
He did not wish to disturb her, as she had left so good a prize 
behind her. He soon fell asleep, dreamed that the lady again ap- 
peared, and said that she detested the person to whom she was 
going to be married, and entreated him to assist her in this conjunc 
ture. Dun, however, had got what he wanted, and departed next 
morning, without satisfying the curiosity of the company, or thank- 
ing the gentleman for his kindness. . 

By this time Dun had become formidable to both rich and poor ; 
but one melancholy circumstance attended his depredations, they 
were in almost every instance stained with blood. He however con- 
tinued his infamous course twenty years, the vicinity of the river 
Ouse in Yorkshire being the usual scene of his exploits ; and being 
attended by fifty armed men on horseback, the inhabitants of the 
country were afraid to seize him. 

His last adventure was as remarkable as those of his former life. 
His infamy daily increasing, the people of that district at length 
determined no longer to suffer his depredations ; and, he and his 
gang were so closely pursued, that they were constrained to divide 
themselves, each seeking for safety for himself. Dun having con- 
cealed himself in a small village, was at last discovered, and the 
house he was in surrounded. Two of the strongest courageously 
posted themselves at the door; Dun seized his dagger, laid them 
both dead, bridled his horse, and in the midst of the uproar escaped. 
He was, however, hotly pursued by one hundred and fifty men, 
armed with clubs, pitchforks, rakes, and whatever rustic weapons 
they could find, who coming up with him, dismounted him from 
his horse, but, to the astonishment of all, he again mounted and 
galloped off, cut his way through the crowd ; and multitudes flock- 
ing from all quarters, the pursuit was renewed. He was, a second 
time, dismounted, and now employed his feet : he ran for the space 
of two miles; but when he halted to breathe a little, three hundred 
men were ready to oppose him, his courage and strength, however, 
still remaining unsubdued, he burst through them, fled over a valley, 
threw off his clothes, seized his sword in his teeth, and plunged into 
a river in order to gain the opposite bank. 

To his sad surprise, however, he perceived it covered with new 
opponents; he swam down the river, but was pursued by several 
boats, until he took refuge on a small island. Determined to give 
him no time to recover from his fatigue, they attacked him there. 


Thus closely pursued, he plunged again into the river with his sword 
in his teeth ; he was pursued by the boats, repeatedly struck with 
their oars ; and after having received several blows on the head, 
he was at last vanquished. 

He was conducted to a surgeon to have his wounds dressed, then 
led before a magistrate, who sent him to Bedford gaol under a strong 
guard. Remaining there two weeks, until he was considered reco- 
vered, a scaffold was erected in the market place, and, without a 
formal triil, he was led forth to execution. When the two execu- 
tioners approached him, he warned them of their danger if they 
should lay hands upon him; he accordingly grasped both, and nine 
times overthrew them upon the stage before his strength was ex- 
hausted, so that they could not perform their duty. His hands 
were first chopped off at the wrist ; then his arms at the elbows ; 
next, about an inch from the shoulders ; his feet below the ancles ; 
his legs at the knee ; and his thighs about five inches from his trunk ; 
the horrible scene was closed by severing his head from the body ; 
and consuming it to ashes ; the other parts of his body were fixed 
up in the principal parts of Bedfordshire, as a warning to his com- 
panions. The quantity of blood that was shed during his career, 
restrains even the tear of pity upon his miserable fate. 


Who lived in the time of Edward II., was descended of very ho- 
nourable parents at Northallerton, in the North Riding of York- 
shire. His family came into England with William the Conqueror, 
who assigned them lands for their services, where they lived in 
great repute, until the days of our hero. He was intended, by his 
father, for the priesthood, and for this purpose was sent to college, 
where he prosecuted his studies with great assiduity and seeming 
warmth. As he was naturally of a vicious disposition, he merely 
dissembled to please his father, until he should get possession of 
his fortune. 

His natural habits however could not long be restrained, and he 
soon displayed his propensity to a luxurious and profligate life; 
and it appears that so vicious was his conduct, that he broke his 
father's heart; and his newly acquired wealth, he and his brother 
Robert contrived soon to dissipate in licentiousness and luxury. 


The first enterprise of note which we find recorded of Sir Gos- 
selin is one in which h< was joined by Middleton and Selby, two 
robbers of that time, with a considerable force. Their design 
was to rob two Cardinals, sent into this kingdom by the Pope, 
which they accomplished with great success. Not only travellers, 
but monasteries, churches, nunneries, and houses, were the objects 
of their attacks, and they were not merely content with booty, but 
barbarously murdered all who made the least opposition. 

A Dominican monk, of the name of Andrew Simpson, was once 
met by our knight and his associates, and obliged to surrender his * 
purse; wishing, however, to make pastime of him, they compelled 
him to mount a tree and preach an extempore sermon. 

The monk selected for his text these words : " A certain man 
went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who, 
stripped him of his raiment and wounded him, and departed 
leaving him half dead;" and he commented thereon in a very 
learned manner, hoping to move the hearts of his hearers, but 
without success, they were too far plunged in iniquity to reform. 
They continued their course, and every day became more formi- 
dable, and robbed with such boldness that country-seats were for 
saken, and safety sought in fortified cities. They defeated forces 
sent out to suppress them, and were not deterred from any project, 
either by the magnitude of the danger, or the greatness of the indi- 
viduals concerned. The king himself when on a tour through the 
north of England, was beset by the gang in priests' habits, and he 
and his nobles had to submit themselves to be rifled. This robbery 
was highly resented, and several proclamations offering great re- 
wards were issued for the apprehension of any or every of them. 
The promise of the premium bred traitors among themselves, and in 
less than a month afterwards sixty were delivered up to justice. 

The last recorded exploit of Sir Gosselin and his remaining as- 
sociates was an attack which he made upon the Bishop of Durham 
They rifled his palace of every thing valuable, and maltreated not 
only himself but his servants and family. But the fortune ofour 
knight seemed now on the wane. 

His amours were many, and among them was one with the wife 
of a publican whose house he used to frequent, not so much for the 
goodness of the ale as the beauty of the hostess. The husband, 
however, sought his revenge in due season, and betrayed the 
knight and his men one evening while they were carousing in his 
house. The sheriff and five hundred men surrounded the party, 
who fought desperately, but it was not before two hundred of the 


oesiegers had fallen, and they were completely hemmed in that 
they surrendered. They were escoited under a strong guard to 
York, where, without the privilege of a trial, they were immediate- 
ly executed to the joy of thousands, the satisfaction of the great, 
and the delight of the community, who waited upon them to the 
scaffold, triumphing in their ignominious exit. 


" The Man Eater." 

Our next narrative presents such a picture of human barbarity, 
that, were it not attested by the most unquestionable historical 
evidence, it would be rejected as altogether fabulous and incredible, 
it is that of Sawney Beane. 

This man was born in East Lothian, about eight miles eas-t o£ 
Edinburgh, in the reign of James 1. of Scotland. His father was 
a hedger and ditcher, and brought up his son to the same laborious 
employment. Naturally idle and vicious, he abandoned that place 
in company with a young woman equally idle and profligate, and 
retired to the deserts of Galloway, where they took up their habi- 
tation by the sea-side, The place which they selected for their 
dwelling was a cave of about a mile in length, and of considerable 
breadth, so near the sea, that the tide often penetrated into the 
cave above two hundred yards. The entry had many intricate 
windings and turnings, leading to the extremity of the subterrane- 
ous dwelling, which was literally " the habitation of horrid cruelty." 

In this cave they commenced their depredations, and to prevent 
the possibility of detection, they murdered every person they robbed. 
Destitute of the means of obtaining any other food, they resolved 
to live upon human flesh, and accordingly, when they had murder- 
ed any man, woman, .or child, they carried them to their den, 
quartered them, salted the limbs, and dried them for food. In 
this manner they lived, carrying on their depredations and murder, 
until they had eight sons and six daughters, eighteen grandsons 
and fourteen grandaughters, all the offspring of incest. 

But though they soon became numerous, yet such was the multi- 
tude which fell into their hands, that they had often superabundance 
of provisions, and would at a distance from their own habitation, 
throw legs and arms of dried human bodies into the sea by night. 


These were often cast out by the tide, and taken up by the country 
people, to the great dismay of all the surrounding inhabitants. 
Nor could any one discover what had befallen the many friends, 
relations, and neighbours who had unfortunately fallen into the 
hand of these merciless cannibals. 

In proportion as Sawney's family increased, every one that was 
able acted his part in these horrid assassinations. They would 
sometimes attack four or six men on foot, but nevermore than two 
upon horseback. To prevent the possibility of escape, they would 
lie in ambush in every direction, so that if they escaped the attach 
of the first, they might be assailed with renewed fury by second* 
party, and inevitably murdered. By this means they always se- 
cured their prey, and prevented detection. At last, however, the 
vast number who were slain raised the inhabitants of the country, 
and all the woods and lurking-places were carefully searched ; yet, 
though they often passed by the mouth of the horrible den, it was 
never once suspected that any human being resided there. In 
this state of uncertainty and suspense concerning the author* of 
such frequent massacres, several innocent travellers and inkeepers 
were taken up on suspicion, because the persons who were missing 
had been seen last in their company, or had last resided at their 
houses. The effect of this well-meant and severe justice constrain- 
ed the greater part of the inkeepers in those parts to abandon such 
employments, to the great inconvenience of those who travelled 
through that district. 

Meanwhile, the country became depopulated, and the whole 
nation was at a loss to account for the numerous and unheard-of 
villanies and cruelties that were perpetrated, without the slightest 
clue to the discovery of the abominable actors. At length the 
horrible scene was terminated in the following manner. One 
evening, a man and wife were riding home upon the same horse 
from a fair which had been held in the neighbourhood, and being 
attacked, the husband made the most vigorous resistance ; his wife, 
however, was dragged from behind him, carried to a little distance > 
and her entrails instanlly taken out. Struck with horror the hus- 
band redoubled his efforts to escape, and even trod some of the 
assassins down under his horse's feet. Fortunately for him, and 
the inhabitants of that part of the country, in the mean time, 
twenty or thirty in a company came riding home from the fair, but 
upon their approach, Sawney and his bloody crow lied into a thick 
wood, and hastened to their infernal den. 

This man. who was the first that had ever escaped out of their 


hands, related to his neighbours what had happened,, and showed 
them the mangled body of his wife lying at a distance, the blood- 
thirsty wretches not having time to carry it along with them. They 
were all struck with astonishment and horror, took him with them 
to Glasgow, and reported the whole adventure to the chief magis- 
trate of the city, who, upon this information, instantly wrote to 
the king, informing him of the matter. In a few days, his majesty 
in person, accompanied by four hundred men, went in quest of the 
perpetrators of these horrid cruelties. The man, whose wife had 
been murdered before his eyes, went as their guide, with a great 
number of blood-hounds, that no possible means might be left 
unattempted to discover the haunt of such execrable villains. 

They searched the woods, and traversed and examined the sea- 
shore ; but as they passed by the entrance into their cave, some of 
the blood-hounds entered it, and raising an uncommon barking 
and noise, gave indication that they were about to seize their prey. 
The king and his men returned, but could scarcely conceive how 
any human beings could reside in a place of utter darkness, and 
where the entrance was difficult and narrow ; but, as the blood- 
hounds increased in their vociferation, and refused to return, it 
occurred to all that the cave ought to be explored to the extremity. 
Accordingly, a sufficient number of torches was provided; the 
hounds were permitted to pursue their course ; a great number of 
men penetrated through all the intricacies of the path, and at length 
arrived at the private entrance of the cannibals. 

They were followed by all the band, who were shocked to behold 
a sight unequalled in Scotland if not in any part of the universe. 
Legs, arms, thighs, hands, and feet, of men, women, and children, 
were suspended in rows like dried beef, some limbs and other mem- 
bers were soaked in pickle; while a great mass of money, both of gold 
and silver, watches, rings, pistols, clothes, both linen and woollen, 
with an immense quantity of other articles, were either thrown to- 
gether in heaps, or suspended upon the sides of the cave. 

The whole cruel, brutal family, to the number formerly mention- 
ed, were seized; the human flesh buried in the sand of the sea-shore ; 
the immense booty carried away, and the king marched to Edin- 
burgh with the prisoners. This new and wretched spectacle attract- 
ed the attention of the inhabitants, who flocked from all quarters 
to see, as they passed along, so bloody and unnatural a family 
which had increased, in the space of twenty-five years, to the num- 
ber of twenty -seven men and twenty-one women. Arrived in the 
capital, they were all confined in the Tolbooth under a strong guard, 


and were next day conducted to the common place of execution in 
Leith Walk, and executed without any formal trial, it being deemed 
unnecessary to try those who were avowed enemies of all mankind 
and of all social order. 

The enormity of their crimes dictated the severity of their death. 
The men had their entrails thrown into the fire, their hands and legs 
were severed from their bodies, and they were permitted to bleed 
to death. The wretched mother of the whole crew, the daughters, 
and grandchildnen, after being spectators of the death of the men, 
were cast into three separate fires, and consumed to ashes. No*, 
did they, in general, display any signs of repentance or regret but 
continued, with their last breath, to pour forth the most dreadful 
curses and imprecations upon all around. 


This notorious criminal was born at Ipswich, in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, at which place he continued till he was between 
fifteen and sixteen, and then went to sea. Nine years after, com- 
ing to London, and associating with loose company, especially 
with females, he left no villainy undone for the support of himself 
and them in their extravagances, till at last he became so expert in 
house-breaking and all sorts of theft, that he was esteemed the 
most remarkable villain in his time ; accordingly we find that he 
had the boldness to rob the royal lodgings at Whitehall Palace, of 
plate to the amount of £400, for which he was taken and committed 
to Newgate. But fortunately for him, her majesty's act of grace 
coming out, granting a free pardon for all offences except murder, 
treason, and other notorious crimes, he was allowed the benefit of 
that act, and thus obtained his liberty. But neither the Queen's 
clemency, nor the eminent danger to which he had been exposed, 
had any effect upon him ; for, pursuing his villanies, he was soon 
constrained to hire himself as under servant in the kitchen, to the 
Earl of Salisbury, to avoid detection. While he was in this post, 
he had the audacity to make love to the Countess's attendant, who, 
astonished at such insolence in a man of his iank, returned his 
addresses with contempt, which exasperated him so much, that his 
love turned to hatred, and he vowed vengeance. He accordingly 
embraced an opportunity, and used her very brutally, until she 


was under the ne( essity of calling to the other servants for assis- 
tance, and from his treatment took to her bed, and remained very 
unwell for some time. The Earl, informed of his cruelty, order- 
ed him to be whipped by the coachman, and the same to be repeated 
once a week during a month, but having satiated his vengeance 
upon the woman, he decamped from the house, after robbing the 
coachman of £9, borrowing £15 of the master-cook, carrying off 
a silver cup of the Earl's, and all the best clothes of the woman 
whom he had so greatly injured, and went in quest of new ad- 

After this, Wynne often dressed himself in the garb of a porter, 
and carried off parcels, consigned to carriers, and continued un- 
detected in this practice, until he had acquired about two hundred 
pounds, for which the different carriers had to pay through their 
neglect. Taught by experience, however, they began to look bet- 
ter after the goods entrusted to their care, so that Wynne had to 
turn to a new employment. 

After having reigned eight years in his villanies, he determined 
to rob a linen-draper, in Honey Lane, who, with his wife were 
living upon their industry, and accordingly one evening he broke 
into their house, cut both their throats while they were asleep, 
rifled the house to the amount of £2500; and, to prevent detection, 
sailed to Virginia, with his wife and four children. 

Not appearing in the neighbourhood next day as usual, and the 
doors remaining locked, the neighbours were alarmed, sent for 
a constable, and burst open the doors, when they found them 
weltering in their blood, and their house pillaged. Enquiry was 
of course made, and a poor man, a beggar, was taken up on sus- 
picion, because he had been seen sitting upon a bench before the 
house the previous day : and although nothing but circumstantial 
evidence appeared against him, he was tried, condemned, and 
executed in front of the dwelling, and his body hung in chains at 

In the meantime the murderer remained in a foreign land, where 
he prospered, and his riches greatly increased; but after he had 
resided about twenty years in Virginia where his family had become 
numerous, he resolved to visit England before his death, and then 
to return to deposit his bones in a foreign grave, this resolution 
was a fatal one to him, for during his stay in London, he happened 
one day to enter a goldsmith's shop in Cheapside, intending to 
purchase some plate to take with him on his return, and while he 
was in treaty for the same, an uproar took place iii the street, 


occasioned by the circumstance of a gentleman running off from 
certain bailiffs who were conducting him to prison. Upon this, 
Wynne ran also out mto the street, and hearing somebody behind 
him crying out, " Stop him ! stop him 1" his conscience instantly 
awoke, so that he stopped, and exclaimed, " I am the man !" 
" You the man !" cried the people ; " What man ?" " The man," 
replied Wynne, " that committed the murder in Honey-lane 
twenty years ago, for which a poor man was hanged wrongfully. 
Upon this confession, he was carried before a magistrate, to whon^ 
he repeated the same acknowledgement, and was committed to 
Newgate, tried, condemned, and executed before the house where 
he perpetrated the horrid deed. Justice also overtook his family, 
who were privy to his guilt. Upon the intelligence of his shameful 
end, his wife immediately became deranged, and continued so to 
her death. Two of his sons were hanged in Virginia for robbery, 
and the whole family were eventually reduced to beggary. 


This man flourished in the time of James I. He was the son of a 
gentleman of Carlisle, who possessed a considerable estate, and 
brought up his children suitably to his condition. Young Wither- 
ington received a liberal education, as his father intended that he 
should live free from the toil and hazard of business, and the fathe* 
dying, he came into possession of the estate, which soon procured 
him a rich wife, who afterwards proved the chief cause of bis ruin. 
She was loose in her conduct, and violated her matrimonial obliga- 
tions, which drove him from his house to seek happiness in the 
tavern, or in the company that frequented it. These by degrees 
perverted all the good qualities he possessed ; nor was his estate 
less subject to ruin and decay; for the mortgages he made 
on it, in order to support his luxury and profusion, soon reduced 
his circumstances to the lowest ebb. Undisciplined in poverty, 
he was possessed of too independent a spirit to stoop either to re- 
lations or friends for a precarious subsistence, and to solicit the 
benevolence of his fellow-men was what his soul abhorred. Starve 
he could not, and only one way of living presented itself to his 
choice — that of levying contributions on the road. This he followed 
for six or seven years with tolerable success, and we shall now relate 
* few of his most remarkable adventures. 


Upon his first outset he repaired to a friend, and lamenting his 
late irregularities, declared als determination to live by some honest 
means ; and for this purpose he required a little money in estab- 
lishing himself, hoping his friend would find it convenient to 
accommodate him. His friend was overjoyed at the prospect of 
his amendment and willingly lent him fifty pounds, with as many 
blessings and exhortations. But Witherington frustrated these 
kind intentions, for with the money he bought himself a horse and 
other necessaries fit for his future enterprises. 

Stopping one night at Keswick in Cumberland, he met with the 
Dean of Carlisle. Being equally learned, they found each other's 
company very agreeable, and Witherington passed himself off for 
a gentleman who had just returned from the East Indies with a 
handsome competency, and was returning to his friends at Carlisle, 
among whom he had a rich uncle, who had lately died and left him 
sole heir to nis estate. " True," said the Dean, " I have often 
heard of a relation of Mr. Witherington's being in the East Indies, 
but his family, I can assure you, received repeated information of 
his death, and what prejudice this may have done to your affairs 
at Carlisle, to-morrow will be the best witness." The Dean then 
told him his own history, and concluded with these words : — " And 
I am now informed that to support his extravagance, Mr. Wither- 
ington frequents the road, and takes a purse whenever he can 
extort it. v Our adventurer seemed greatly hurt at this account of 
his cousin's conduct, and thanked the doctor for his information. 
The evening was afterwards spent very agreeably and they promised 
each other to travel together on the following day to Carlisle. 

Accordingly, the next morning they sat out on their journey, 
and having arrived at a wood on the road, Witherington rode close 
up to the Dean, and whispering into his ear, " Sir, though the 
place at which we now are is private enough, yet willing that what 
1 do should be still more private, I take the liberty to acquaint you 
that you have something about you that will do me an infinite piece 
of service." — " What's that?" answered the doctor, " you shall 
have it with all my heart." — " I thank you for your civility," said 
Witherington. " Well then, to be plain, the money in your 
breeches'-pocket will be very serviceable to me at the present mo- 
ment." — " Money !" rejoined the Doctor; " Sir, you cannot want 
money ; your garb and person both tell me you are in no want." — 
" Ay, but 1 am ; for the ship in which I came over happened to be 
wrecked, so that I have lost all that I brought from India; and 1 
would not enter Carlisle for the whole world without money in inv 


pocket." — " Friend, I may urge the same plea, and say I would 
not go into that city wi.hout money for the world ; but what then ? 
If you are Mr. Witherington's nephew, as you have told me you 
are, you would not thus peremptorily demand money of me, for at 
Carlisle your friends will supply you ; and if you have none now, 
I will bear your expenses to that place." — " Sir," said Withering- 
ton, " the question is not whether I have money or not, but con- 
cerning that which is in your pocket ; for, as you say, my cousin 
is obliged to take purses on the road, and so am 1 ; so that if J 
take your's, you may ride to Carlisle, and say that Mr. Withering- 
ton met you and demanded your charity." After a good deal of 
expostulation, the Dean, terrified at the sight of a pistol, delivered 
to Witherington a purse containing fifty guineas, before he pursued 
his journey to Carlisle, and our adventurer set off in search of 
more prey. 

Soon after this event Witherington went to Newcastle, and put 
up at an inn where some commissioners were to meet that day, to 
make choice of a schoolmaster for a neighbouring parish. The 
salary being very handsome, many young clergymen and students 
appeared as competitors : and being possessed of sufficient qualifi- 
cations, Witheuington bethought him of standing a candidate, for 
which purpose he borrowed coarse plain clothes from the landlord, 
to make his appearance correspond with the conduct he meant to 
pursue. Repairing to the kitchen, and sitting down by the fire, 
he called for a mug of ale, putting on a dejected countenance. 
One of the freeholders who came to vote, observing him as he stood 
warming himself by the fire, was taken with his countenance, ana 
entered into conversation with him. He very modestly let the 
freeholder know that he had come with the intention of standing 
as a candidate, but when he saw so many gay young men as 
competitors, and fearing that every thing would be carried by 
interest, he resolved to return home. " Nay," replied the honest 
freeholder, " as long as I have a vote, justice shall be done ; and 
never fear, for egad, I say, merit shall have the place, and if you 
be found the best scholar, you shall certainly have it; and to shc^* 
you I am sincere, I now, though you are a stranger to me, promise 
yon my vote, and my interest likewise." Witherington thanked 
him for his civility, and consented to wait for the trial. A keen 
contest took place between two of the most successful candidates, 
when our adventurer was introduced as a man who had so much 
modesty as to make him fearful of appearing before so great an 
assembly, but who nevertheless wished to be examined. He con 


fronted the two opponents, and exposed their ignorance to the 
tmstees, who were all astonished at the stranger. He showed it 
was not a number of Greek and Latin sentences that constituted a 
good scholar, but a thorough knowledge of the nature of the book 
which he read, and the ability to discover the design of the author. 
Suffice it to say, that Witherington was installed into the office 
with all the usual formalities. 

Conducting himself with much moderation and humility, the 
churchwardens of the parish took a great fancy to him, and made 
him overseer and tax-gatherer to the parish; and the rector like- 
wise committed to his care the collection of his rents and tithes. 
The friendly disposition towards Witherington extended itself over 
the parish, and never was a man believed to be more honest or 
industrious. Of the latter qualification, we must say, in this 
instance, he showed himself possessed; but of the former he had 
never any notion. His opinion had great weight with the heads 
of the parish, and he proposed the erection of a new school-house, 
and for this purpose offered, himself, to sink a year's salary towards 
a subscription. It was willingly agreed to, and contributions came 
in from all quarters, and a sum exceeding £700 was speedily raised. 
The mind of Witherington was now big with hope, but, being 
discovered by two gentlemen, who had come from Carlisle, he 
made off with all the subscriptions and funds in his possession, 
leaving the parish to reflect upon the honesty of their schoolmaster 
and their own credulity. 

He afterwards went to Buckinghamshire, and being at an inn 
in the county town, fell into the company of some farmers, who, 
he discovered, were come to meet their landlord with their rents. 
They were all tenants of the same proprietor, and poured out 
many complaints against him for his harshness and injustice, in 
not allowing some deduction from their rents, or time after quarter- 
day, when they met with severe losses from bad weather or other 
causes; and learning that this landlord was very rich, and so miserly 
that he denied himself even the necessaries of life ; he determined, 
it possible, to rifle him before he parted. 

The landlord soon arrived, and the company were shown into a 
private room; Witherington, upon pretence of being a friend of 
one of the farmers, and a lawyer, accompanied them. He request- 
ed a sight of the last receipts, and examined them with great care, 
and then addressing the landlord, " Sir," said he, " These honest 
men, my friends, have been your tenants for a long time, and have 
paid their rents ve*"* regularly; but why they should be so fond of 


your farms at so high a rent I am unable to compreaend, when 
they may get other la^ds much cheaper; and that you should be 
so unreasonable as not to allow a reduction in their rents in a season 
like this, when they must lose instead of gaining by their farms. 
It is your duty, Sir, to encourage them, and not to grind them so 
unmercifully, else they will soon be obliged to leave your farms 
altogether." The landlord endeavoured to argue the point; and 
the farmers seeing the drift of Witherington, refrained from inter- 
fering. " It is unnecessary," resumed Witherington, " to have more 
parley about it; I insist on behalf of my friends here, that yo*U 
remit them a hundred and fifty pounds of the three hundred you 
expect them to pay you, for I am told you have more than enough 
to support yourself and family." " Not a sous," replied the land- 
lord. " We'll try that presently. But pray, Sir, take your pen, 
ink and paper, in the mean time, and write out their receipts, and 
the money shall be forthcoming immediately." " Not a letter, till 
the money is in my hands." " It must be so then," answered 
Witherington ; " you will force a good-natured man to use extremi- 
ties with you ;" and so saying, he laid a brace of loaded pistols on the 
table. In a moment the landlord was on his knees, crying, <: Oh ! 
dear Sir, sweet Sir, kind Sir, merciful Sir, for God of Heaven's 
sake, Sir, don't take away the life of an innocent man, Sir, who 
never intended harm to any one. Sir." " Why, what harm do I 
intend you, friend ? Cannot 1 lay the pistols I travel with on the 
table, but you must throw yourself into this unnecessary fear? 
Pray, proceed to the receipts, and write them in full of all demands 
to this time, or else," — " Oh, God, Sir! oh, dear Sir! you have 
an intention — pray, dear Sir, have no intention against my life." 
" To the receipts then, or by Jupiter Amraon ! I'll — " — " O yes, 
I will, Sir." With this the old landlord wrote full receipts, and 
delivered them to the respective farmers. 

" Come," said Witherington, " this is honest, and to show you 
that you have to deal with honest people, here is a hundred and 
fifty pounds ; and I promise you, in the name of these honest men, 
that if things succeed well, you shall have the other half next 
quarter-day." The farmers paid the money, and departed aston- 
ished, and not a little afraid, at the consequences of this proceeding. 
W itherington ordered his horse, and enquired of the ostler the 
»-oad the old gentleman had to travel, and presently took his 

He chose the road which the old gentleman had to travel, and 
soon observed him jogerin? awav in sullen silence, with a servant 


behind him. When he observed our hero he would have flea, out 
Witherington seized the bridle of his horse, and forced him to 
proceed, bantering him upon the folly of hoarding up wealth, 
without enjoying it himself, merely for some spendthrift son to 
squander after his death. " For," he continued, " money is a 
blessing sent from Heaven, in order that, by its circulation, i* 
may afford nourishment to the body politic ; and if such wretches 
as you, by laying up thousands in your coffers to no advantage, 
cause a stagnation, there are thousands in the world that must 
feel the consequences, and I am to acquaint you of them ; so that 
a better deed cannot be done, than to bestow what you have about 
you upon me ; for, to be plain with you, I am not to be refused ;" 
and hereupon he presented his pistol. The old gentleman, in 
trepidation for his life, resigned his purse, containing more than 
three hundred and fifty guineas ; and Witherington, unbuckling 
the portmanteau from behind the servant, placed it on his own 
horse, and left the old landlord with an admonition, to be in future 
affable and generous to his tenants, for they were the persons who 
supported him, adding, that, if he ever again heard complaints 
from them, he would visit his house, and partake liberally of what 
he most coveted. 

The county, after this adventure, was up in pursuit of Wither- 
ington, and he retired to Cheshire with great expedition, where 
he committed numberless depredations ; but at last being obliged 
to leave this part of the country, he took to the London road, where 
he perpetrated a robbery between Acton and Uxbridge ; after which 
he was detected and committed to Newgate, where he led a most 
profligate life till the day of his execution. 

He was executed with Jonathan Woodward and James Philpot, 
two most notorious housebreakers, who had once before received 
mercy from King James I. upon his accession to the throne. 


Of this famous robber, who was born in the first year of James 
♦,he First, we have no other history than what is given in his own 
words, and we are therefore compelled, in default of other particu- 
lars, to lay his auto-biography before our readers. 


" \ suppose," says he, " that according to custom, the reader 
will expect some rel fion of my genealogy, and as 1 am a great 
admirer of fashion, I shall gratify his curiosity. My grandfather 
had the good fortune to marry a woman well skilled in vaulting 
and rope dancing, and who could act her part uncommonly well. 
Though above fifty years of age, and affected with the phthisic, she 
died in the air. To avoid seeing other women fly as she had done, 
tier husband would not marry again ; but diverted himself with 
keeping a puppet-show in Moorfields, deemed the most remarkable 
that ever had been seen in that place. My grandfather was also'so 
little, that the only difference between him and his puppets was, 
that they spoke through a trunk, and he without one. He was, 
however, so eloquent, and made such lively speeches, that his 
audience were never rendered drowsy. All the apple-women, 
hawkers, and fish women, were so charmed by his wit, that they 
would run to hear him, and leave their goods without any guard 
but their own straw-hats. 

" My father had two trades, or two strings to his bow ; he was a 
painter and a gamester, and master much alike to both ; for his 
painting could scarcely rise so high as a sign-post, and his hand 
at play was of such an ancient date, that it could scarcely pass 
He had one misfortune, which, like original sin, he entailed upon 
all his children ; and that was his being borne a gentleman, which 
is as bad as being a poet, few of whom escape eternal poverty. 

" My mother had the misfortune to die longing for mushrooms. 
Besides myself she left two daughters, both very handsome and very 
young; and though I was then young myself, yet I was much 
better skilled in sharping than my age seemed to promise. When 
the funeral sermon was preached, the funeral rites performed, and 
our tears dried up, my father returned to his daubing, my sisters 
to their stitching, and I was despatched to school. I had such an 
excellent memory, that though my dispositions were then what they 
have continued to be, yet I soon learned as much as might have 
been applied to better purposes than I have done. My tricks upou 
my master and my companions were so numerous, that I obtained 
the honourable appellation of the Little Judas. My avaricious 
disposition soon appeared, and if my covetous eyes once beheld 
any thing, my invention soon put it into my possession. These, 
however, I could not obtain gratis, for they cost me many a boxing 
bout every day. The reports of my conduct were convoyed home, 
and my eldest sister would frequently spend her white hands upon 
the side of my pate; and even sometimes carried her admonition* 


mj far, as politely to inform me, that I should prove a disgrace to 
the family. 

" It was my good fortune, however, not to be greatly agitated by 
ner remonstrances, which went in at one ear and out at the other. 
It happened, however, that my adventures were so numerous, and 
daily increasing in their magnitude, that I was dismissed the 
school with as much solemnity as if it had been by beat of drum. 
After giving me a complete drubbing, my father carried me to a 
barber, in order to be bound as his apprentice. I was first sent to 
the kitchen, where my mistress soon provided me with employment, 
by showing me a parcel of dirty clothes, informing me, that it 
made part of the apprentice's work to clean them : " Jemmy," says 
she, " mind your heels, there's a good boy !" I hung down my 
head, tumbled all the clouts into a trough, and washed them as 
well as I could. ] so managed the matter, that I was soon discard- 
°d from my office, which was very fortunate for me, for it would 
have put an end to poor Jemmy in less than a fortnight. 

" The third day of my apprenticeship, my master having just 
given me a note to receive money, there came into the shop a cavalier 
with a large pair of whiskers, and told my master he would have them 
turned up. The journeyman not being at hand, my master began 
to turn them up himself, and desired me to heat the irons. I com 
plied, and just as he had turned up one whisker, there happened 
a quarrel in the street, and my master ran out to learn the cause. 
The scuffle lasting long, and my master desirous to see the end as 
well as the beginning of the bustle, the spark was all the time 
detained in the shop, with the one whisker ornamented, and the 
other hanging down like an aspin leaf. In a harsh tone he asked 
me, if I understood my trade; and I, thinking it derogatory to 
my understanding to be ignorant, boldly replied, that I did ; 
1 Why, then,' said he, ' turn up this whisker for me, or I shall go 
into the street as I am, and kick your master.' I was unwilling 
to be detected in a lie, and deeming it no difficult matter to turn 
up a whisker, never showed the least concern, but took up one of 
the irons, that had been in the fire ever since the commencement 
of the street bustle, and having nothing to try it on, and willing 
to appear expeditious, I took a comb, stuck it into his bristly bush, 
and clapped the iron to it ; no sooner did they meet, than there 
arose a smoke, as if it had been out of a chimney, with a whizzing 
noise, and in a moment all the hair vanished* He exclaimed 
furiously, * Thou son of a thousand ! dost thou take me for St. 
Lawrence, that thou burnest mc alive ! with that he let fly such a 


bang at me, that the comb dropped out of my hand, and I could 
not avoid, in the fright laying the hot iron close along his cheek: 
this made him give such a shriek as shook the whole house, and he, 
at the same time, drew his sword to send me to the other world. I, 
however, recollecting the proverb, ' That one pair of heels is worth 
two pair of hands,' ran so nimbly into the street, and fled so quickly 
from that part of the town, that though I was a good runner, I was 
amazed when I found myself about a mile from home, with the iron 
in my hand, and the remainder of the whisker sticking to it. As 
fortune would have it, I was near the dwelling of the person wno 
was to pay the note my master gave me : I went and received the 
money, but deemed it proper to detain it in lieu of my three days' 

' This money was all exhausted in one month, when I was un- 
der the necessity of returning to my father's house. Before arriving 
there, I was informed, that he was gone to the country to receive 
a large sum of money which was due to him, and therefore went 
boldly in, as if the house had been my own. My grave sisters 
received me very coldly, and severely blamed me for the money 
which my father paid for my pranks. Maintaining, however, the 
honour of my birthright, I keptthemat considerable distance, and the 
domestic war being thus prolonged, 1 one day lost temper, and was 
resolved to make them feel the consequences of giving me sour 
beer; and, though the dinner was upon the table, I threw the dish 
at my eldest sister, and the beer at the younger, overthrew the 
table, and marched out of doors on a ramble. Fortunately, how- 
ever, I was interrupted in my flight by one who informed me, that 
my father was dead, and in his testament had very wisely left me 
sole heir and executor. Upon this 1 returned, and soon found the 
tones and tempers of my sisters changed, in consequence of the 
recent news. I sold the goods, collected the debts, and feasted all 
the rakes in town, until not one farthing remained. 

" One evening, a party of my companions carried me along with 
them, and, opening the door of a certain house* conveyed from 
thence some trunks, which a faithful dog perceiving, he gave the 
alarm. The people of the house attacked the robbers, who threw 
down their burdens to defend themselves: meanwhile, I skulked 
into a corner all trembling. The watch made their appearance, 
and seeing three trunks in the street, two men daugerously wound- 
ed, and myself standing at a small distance, they seized me as cue 
concerned in the robbery. Next day I was ordered to a place of 
confinement, and could find no friend to bail me from thence. In 


ten days I was tried, and my defences being frivolous and unsatis- 
factory, I was about to be hoisted up by the neck, and sent out of 
the world in a swinging manner, when a reprieve came, and in two 
months a full pardon. 

" After this horrid fright, (for I was not much disposed to visit 
the dwelling of my grandfather,) I commenced travelling mer- 
chant, and, according to my finances, purchased a quantity of 
wash-balls, tooth-picks, and tooth-powders. Pretending that they 
came from Japan, Peru, or Tartary, and extolling them to the 
skies, I had a good sale, particularly among the gentry of the play- 
house. Upon a certain day, one of the actresses, a beautiful wo- 
man of eighteen, and married to one of the actors, addressed me, 
saying, ' She had taken a liking to me, because I was a confident, 
sharp, forward youth ; and therefore, if I would serve her, she would 
entertain me with all her heart; and that, when the company were 
strolling, I might beat the drum and stick up the bills.' Deeming 
it an easier mode of moving through the world, I readily consented, 
only requesting two days to dispose of my stock, and to settle all 
my accounts. 

" In my new profession my employments were various, some of 
which, though not very pleasant, I endeavoured to reconcile my- 
self to, inasmuch as they were comparatively better than my former. 
In a little time I became more acquainted with the tempers of my 
master and mistress, and became so great a favourite, that fees and 
bribes replenished my coffers from all expectants and authors who 
courted their favour. Unfortunately, however, one day, in their 
absence, I was invited by some of the party to take a walk, and, 
going into a tavern, commenced playing at cards, till my last far- 
thing was lost. Determined, if possible, to be revenged of my 
antagonist, I requested time to run home for more money : it was 
readily granted. I ran and seized an article belonging to my mis- 
tress, and pawned it for a small sum, which soon followed my other 
stores. But evils seldom come alone : I was in this situation not 
only deprived of my money, but also obliged to decamp." 

The next adventure of Batson was to enlist as a soldier. It hap* 
Dened, however, that his captain cheating him out of his pay, 
a grievous quarrel arose. Batson soon found that it was dangerous 
to reside in Rome and strive with the Pope. His captain, upon 
some pretence of improper conduct had him apprehended, tried, 
and condemned to be hanged. The cause of this harsh treatment 
was a very simple one : " For," says Batson, " I was one day 
drinking with a soldier, and happened to fall out about a lie given. 


My sword unluckily running into his throat, he kicked up his heels, 
through his own fault, Tor he ran upon my point, so that he may 
thank his own hastiness." Upon this our hero says, " as if it had 
been a thing of nothing, or as a matter of pastime, they gave sen- 
tence that I should be led in state along the streets, then mounted 
upon a ladder, kick up my heels before all the people, and take a 
swing in the open air, as if I had another life in my knapsack. A 
notary informed me of this sentence, who was so generous that he 
requested no fee, nor any expenses for his trouble during the trial. 
The unfeeling gaoler desired me to make my peace with my Maker, 
without giving me one drop to cheer my desponding heart. In- 
formed of my melancholy condition, a compassionate friar came to 
prepare me for another world, since the inhabitants of this were so 
ready to bid me farewell. When he arrived, he enquired for the 
condemned person, I answered, ■ Father, I am the man, though 
you do not know me.' He said, ' Dear child, it is now time for you 
to think of another world, since sentence is passed, and, therefore, 
you must employ the short time allowed you in confessing your sins, 
and asking forgiveness of your offences.' I answered, ' Reverend 
father, in obedience to the commands of the church, I confess but 
once in the year, and that is in Lent; but if, according to hu- 
man laws, I must atone with my life for the crime I have commit- 
ted, your reverence, being so learned, must be truly sensible that 
there is no divine precept which says, ' Thou shalt not eat or drink ;' 
and therefore, since it is not contrary to the law of God, I desire 
that I may have meat and drink, and then we will discourse of what 
is best for us both; for I am in a Christian country, and plead the 
privilege of sanctuary.' 

" The good friar was much moved at finding me so jocular when 
I ought to be so serious, and began to preach to me a loud and a 
long sermon upon the parable of the lost sheep, and the repentance 
of the good thief. But the charity bells that ring when criminals 
are executed knolling in my ears, made a deeper impression 
upon my heart than the loud and impressive voice of the 
friar. I therefore kneeled down before my ghostly father, and 
cleared the store-house of my sins, and poured forth a dreadful 
budget of iniquity. He then gave me his blessing, and poor Bat- 
son seemed prepared to take his flight from a world of misfortunes 
and insults. 

" But having previously presented a petition to the Marquis 
D Este, then commanding officer, heat that critical moment called 
me before him. He oeing a merciful man, respited my sentence, 


and sent me to the gallies for ten years. Some friends farther in- 
terfered, and informed the Marquis, that the accusation and sen- 
tence against me were effected by the malice of the captain, who 
was offended because 1 had insisted for the whole of my listing mo- 
ney. The result was, that he ordered me to be set at liberty, to the 
disappointment of my captain, together with that of the multitude 
and the executioner. 

" The deadly fright being over, and my mind restored to tran- 
quility, I went forth to walk, and to meditate upon what plans I 
should pursue in the rugged journey of life. Every man has his 
own fortune, and, as good luck would have it, I again met with 
a recruiting officer, who enlisted me, and, from partiality, took me 
home to his own quarters. The cook taking leave of the family, I 
was interrogated if I understood any thing in that line. To this I 
replied, as usual, in the affirmative, and was accordingly installed 
in the important office of cook. 

" In the course of a military life, my master took up his winter 
residence at Bavaria, in the house of one of the richest men in 
those parts. To save his property, however, the Bavarian pre- 
tended to be very poor, drove away all his cattle, and removed all 
his stores to another quarter. Informed of this, I waited upon him, 
and acquainted him, that, as he had a person of quality in his 
house, it would be necessary for him to provide liberally for him 
and his servants. He replied, that I had only to inform him what 
provisions I wanted, and he would order them immediately. I then 
informed him, that my master always kept three tables, one for 
the gentlemen and pages, a second for the butler and under officers, 
a third for the footmen, grooms, and other liveries ; that for these 
tables he must supply one ox, two calves, four sheep, twelve pul- 
lets, six capons, two dozen of pigeons, six pounds of bacon, four 
pounds of sugar, two of all sorts of spice ; a hundred eggs, half 
a dozen dishes of fish, a pot of wine to every plate, and six hogs- 
heads to stand by. He blessed himself, and exclaimed, ' If all 
you speak of be only for the servants' tables, the village will not 
be able to furnish the master's.' To this I replied, that my master 
was such a good-natured man, that, if he saw his servants and at- 
tendants well provided, he was indifferent to his own table ; a dish 
of imperial stuffed meat, with an egg in it, would be sufficient for 
him. He asked me of what that same imperial stuffed meat was com- 
posed ? I desired him to send for a grave-digger and a cobbler, and 
while they were at work, I would inform him what there was want- 
ing. They were instantly called. I then took an egg, and putting 


it into the body of a pigeon, which ] had already gutted with my 
knife, said to him, ' Now, sir, take notice ; this egg is in the pi- 
geon, the pigeon is to be put into a partridge, the partridge into a 
pheasant, the pheasant into a pullet, the pullet into a turkey, the tur- 
key into a kid, the kid into a sheep, the sheep into a calf, and the calf 
into a cow; all these creatures are to be pulled, fleed, and larded, ex- 
cept the cow, which is to have her hide on ; and as they are through 
one into another, like a nest of boxe6, the cobbler is to sew ever, 
one of them that they may not slip out; and the grave-digger fc t 
throw up a deep trench, into which one load of coals is to be cas 
and the cow laid on the top of it, and another load abovs her,— t\ 
fuel set on fire, to burn about four hours, more or less, when II. 
meat being taken out, is incorporated, and becomes such a delici- 
ous dish, that formerly the emperors used to dine upon it on their 
coronation-day; for which reason, and because an egg is the foun- 
dation of all that curious mass, it is named the ' imperial egg-stuffed 
meat.' The landlord was not a little astonished, but after some 
conversation we understood each other, and the master left the mat- 
ter to my care. 

" In the course of my negotiations with the landlord, I incurred 
the displeasure of my master, who, discovering my policy, came 
into the kitchen, seized the first convenient instrument, and be- 
laboured me most unmercifully. He was, however, punished for 
his rashness, by the want of a cook for two weeks. 

" The French scoundrels were audacious enough to pay us a 
visit while we remained here. I was ordered out with the rest, 
but J kept at the greatest distance, lest any bullet should have mis- 
tal<m me for some other person. No sooner did I receive the in- 
diligence that the French were conquered than I ran to the field 
of battle, brandishing my sword, and cutting and splashing among 
the dead men. It unfortunately happened, however, that as I 
stuck one of them with my sword, he uttered a mournful groan, 
and, apprehensive that he was about to revenge the injury done to 
him, I ran off with full speed, leaving my sword in his body. In 
passing along, I met with another sword, which saved my honour, 
as I vaunted that I had seized it from one in the field of battle. 

" While thus rambling through the field of blood and danger, 
my master was carried home mortally wounded, who called me a 
scoundrel, and cried, * Why did you not obey me ?' ' Lest, Sir,' 
replied I, * I should have been as you now are.' The good man 
goon breathed his last, leaving me a horse and fifty ducats. 

" Being again emancipated from bonds of servitude I began to 

JAME8 BAT80N. 41 

enjoy life, and continued to treat all my acquaintance so long as 
my money would permit. The return of poverty, however, made 
me again enlist under the banners of servitude. 

" About this time a singular occurrence happened to me. I 
chanced to go out into the street, when my eyesight was so affected 
that 1 could not discern black from green, nor white from grey 
Observing the candles suspended in a candle maker's shop, and 
taking them for radishes, I thought there was no great harm if I 
tasted one of them. Accordingly, laying hold of one, down fell 
the whole row, and being dashed to pieces upon the floor, a 
scuffle ensued ; I was taken into custody, and made to pay the 
damage, which operated to restore my sight to its natural state. 

" Not long after this adventure, I was assailed with love for the 
fair sex, and, after some sighs and presents, 1 was bound to a wo- 
man for better or for worse, and continued with her until the charms 
of the marriage state and the pleasures of domestic life began to 
pall upon me, and an ardent desire to return to my old course of 
adventure took possession of my mind. Towards the attainment 
of this desirable end, 1 one day kicked my wife out of doors, dress- 
ed myself, and prepared to sally forth. 1 had no sooner effected 
this liberation, than a tavern was my first resting place to recruit 
my spirits and to redeem lost time. 

" I at last formed the resolution of returning to my native home, 
and there spending the evening of my bustling life in calm repose. 
After travelling many a tedious mile, I got to London. Arrived 
in the capital, I went directly to my father's house but found it in 
the possession of another, and my sisters departed this life. As 
both of them had been married, and had left children, there was 
no hope of any legacy by their death : 1 was therefore under the 
necessity of doing something for a living. Finding the gout in- 
creasing upon me, I, by the advice of an acquaintance, took a pub- 
lic-house; and, as I understood several languages, I thought I 
might have many customers from among foreigners." 

Batson then gravely concludes his own narrative in these words: — 

" I intend to leave off my foolish pranks, and, as I have spent 
my juvenile years and money in keeping company, hope to find 
some fools as bad as myself, who delight in throwing away their 
estates and impairing their health." 

He accordingly took the Ram Inn, in Smithfield, and acquired 
a considerable sum. But, being desirous to make a fortune with 
one dash, he hastened his end. Among others who put up at his 
house was a gentleman who had purchased a large estate in the 


country, and was goinp to deliver the cash. The ostler observea 
to his master, that the bags belonging to the gentleman were 
uncommonly heavy when he carried them into the house, They 
mutually agreed to rob, and afterwards to murder him ; and the 
ostler accomplished the horrid deed. But, differing about the divi- 
sion of the spoil, the ostler got drunk, and disclosed the whole 
matter. The house was searched, the body of the gentleman found 
and both the murderers were seized, tried, and condemned. The 
ostler died before the fatal day, but Batson was executed, and ac?« 
cording to the Catholic faith, died a penitent, a year before the 
restoration of King Charles II. 




The father of this man was a haberdasher in Cheapside, but, liv- 
ing above his income, he died so poor that he was interred by the 
parish. He had eighteen children, fifteen daughters and three 
sons. Our hero was the youngest of the family, and at the age of 
eight, was bound apprentice to a chimney-sweeper. In his first 
year, deeming himself as expert at his profession as his master, he 
left him, and, acting for himself, soon acquired a great run of 

Money now coming in upon him, he frequented tne tavern, and, 
disdaining to taste of any thing but mulled sack, he acquired that 
appellation. One evening he there met with a young woman, with 
whom he was so enamoured, that he " took her for better for worse.". 
But, not enjoying that degree of comfort in this union which his 
imagination had painted to him, he frequented the company of 
other women, until it became necessary to make public contribu- 
tions to supply their pressing necessities. His first trials were in 
picking pockets of watches, and any small sums he could find. 
Among others, he robbed a lady famous among the usurers, of i 
gold watch set with diamonds, and another lady of a similar piece of 
luxury, as she was entering the church to hear a celebrated preacher. 
By the aid of his accomplices, the pin was taken out of the axle of 
her coach, which fell down at the church door, and in the crowd, 
Mulled Sack, being dressed as a gentleman, gave her his hand, 
while he seized her watch. The pious lady did not discover her 
loss, until she wished to know the length of the s*»rmon, when lu>r 


devout meditations, excited by the consoling exhortation of the 
pious preacher, were sadly interrupted by the loss of her time- 
piece. It is related, that, upon a certain occasion, he had the 
coldness to attempt the pocket of Oliver Cromwell, and that the 
danger to which he was then exposed determined him to leave that 
sneaking trade, and in a genteel manner to enter upon the ho- 
nourable profession of public collector on the highway. 

He entered into partnership with Tom Cheney. Their first 
adventure was attacking Colonel Hewson, who had raised himself 
by his merit from a cobbler to a colonel. He was riding at some 
distance from his regiment upon Hounslow-heath, and, even there, 
in sight of some of his men, these two rogues robbed him. The pur- 
suit was keen: Tom's horse failing him, he was apprehended, but 
Mulled Sack escaped. The prisoner, being severely wounded, 
intreated that his trial might be postponed on that account. But, 
on the contrary, lest he should die of his wounds, he was condemned 
at two o'clock, and executed that evening. 

One Home was the next accomplice of Mulled Sack. His com- 
panions were, however, generally unfortunate. Upon their first 
attempt, Home was pursued, taken and executed. 

Thus, twice bereft of his associates, he acted alone, but generally 
committed his depredations upon the republican party, who then 
had the wealth of the nation in their possession. Informed that 
tne sum of four thousand pounds was on its way from London, to 
pay the regiments of Oxford and Gloucester, he concealed himself 
behind a hedge which the waggon had to pass, presented his pistols, 
and the guard supposing that many more were concealed, fled, 
and left him the immense prize. 

There were a few passengers in the waggon, who were greatly 
affrighted. He, however, consoled them, assuring them that he 
would not injure them, saying, " This which I have taken is as 
much mine as theirs who own it, being all extorted from the public 
by the rapacious members of our commonwealth, to enrich them- 
selves, maintain their janizaries, and keep honest people in 
subjection, the most effectual way to do which is to keep them 
very poor." 

When not employed as a chimney-sweep, which profession he 
still occasionally pursued, he dressed in high style, and is said to 
have received more money by robbery than any man in that age. 
One day, being informed that the receiver-general was to send up 
to London six thousand pounds, he entered his house the night 
before, and rendered that trouble unnecessary. Upon the noise 


which this notorious robbery occasioned, Mulled Sack was appre- 
nended ; but through cunning, baffling the evidence, or corrupting 
the jury, he was acquitted. 

In a little time after, he robbed and murdered a gentleman, and, 
for fear of detection, went to the Continent, and was introduced 
into the Court of Charles the Second. Upon pretence of giving 
information, he came home again, and applied to Cromwell, con- 
fessed his crime, but proposed to purchase his life by important 
information. But whether he failed in his promise, or whether 
Cromwell thought that such a notorious offender was unworthy to 
live, cannot be ascertained ; one thing is certain, that he was tried 
and executed in the forty-fifth year of his age, in the month of 
April, 1659. 

His portrait (which is now excessively rare,) has been engraved — 
and Granger, in his " Biographical History of England,'* says that 
he never saw the print, but in a very curious and valuable volume 
of English portraits by the old engravers, collected in the reign of 
Charles I. in the possession of John Delebere, Esq. of Cheltenham 
in Glocestershire. The editor of this work has seen upwards of 
£50 given for an impression of this engraving at a public sale — the 
print represents him in a fantastic and humorous chimney-sweeper's 
dress, with a cap and feather, and laced band, his clothes tucked 
up, and coat ragged ; he has a scarf on his arm ; on his left leg is 
a fashionable boot with a spur ; on his right foot a shoe with a rose ; 
he has a sword by his side, and a hollybush and pole on his shoulder; 
in his left hand is another pole with a horn on it; a pipe, out of 
which issues smoke is in his right hand, and at the bottom are the 
following lines — 

" I walke the Strande and Westminster, and scorne 
To march i* the Cittie, though I bear the home, 
My feather and my yellow band accorde 
To prove me courtier ; my boote, spur and sword, 
My smoking pipe, scarf, garter, rose on shoe, 
Shew my brave mind, t* affect what gallants do. 
I dance, sing, drink, and merrilye pass the day. 
And like a chimney, sweepe all care away."* 

* This medley of the dress of the man of fashion, and the chimney- 
sweeper is not unlike that which Lassels mentions in his '• Voyage of 
Italy" where he describes a carnival at Rome; M but never," says the 
author, " did any mascarade please, like that speculative Italian, who 
mocked both the French and the Spaniards at once, by walking up and 
down the street, clad half like a Don, and half like I Mounsi»>r," fee, 

Pttrill, p. 190, &•. 



The father of Hind was an industrious saddler, a cheerful com- 
panion, and a good Christian. He was a native of Cnipping Norton, 
Oxfordshire, where James was born. As our hero was his only son, 
he received a good education, and remained at school, until he was 
fifteen years of age. 

He was then sent as an apprentice to a butcher in that place, 
and continued in that employment during two years. Upon leaving 
his master's service, he applied to his mother for money to bear 
his expenses to London, complaining bitterly of the rough and 
quarrelsome temper of his master. The complying mother yielded, 
and, giving him three pounds, she, with a sorrowful heart, took 
farewell of hei beloved son. 

Arrived in the capital, he soon contracted a relish for the plea- 
sures of the town. His bottle and a female companion became his 
principal delight, and occupied the greater part of his time. He 
was unfortunately detected one evening with a woman of the town 
who had just robbed a gentleman, and along with her confined until 
the morning. He was acquitted because no evidence appeared 
against him, but his fair companion was committed to Newgate. 

Captain Hind, soon after this accident, became acquainted with 
one Allan, a famous highwayman. While partaking of a bottle, 
their conversation became mutually so agreeable that they consented 
to unite their fortunes. 

Their measures being concerted, they set out in quest of plunder. 
They fortunately met a gentleman and his servant travelling along 
the road. Hind being raw and inexperienced, Allan was desirous 
to have a proof of his courage and address; he, therefore, remained 
at a distance, while Hind boldly rode up to them and took from 
them fifteen pounds, at the same time returning one to bear their 
expenses home. This he did with so much grace and pleasantry, 
that the gentleman vowed that he would not injuie a hair of his 
head though it were in his power. 

About this period, the unfortunate Charles I. suffered death for 
his political principles. Captain Hind conceived an inveterate 
enmity to all those who had stained their hands with their sovereign's 
blood, and gladly embraced every opportunity to wreak his ven- 
geance upon them. In a short time, Allan and Hind met with thf 


usurper, Oliver Cromwell, riding from Huntingdon to London. 
They attacked the coach, but Oliver, being attended by seven 
servants, Allan was apprehended, and it was with no small difficulty 
that Hind made his escape. The unfortunate Allan was soon after 
tried, and suffered death for his audacity. The only effect which 
this produced upon Hind was to render him more cautious in hi* 
future depredations. He could not, however, think of abandon- 
ing a course on which he had just entered, and which promised so 
many advantages. m % 

The captain had ridden so hard to escape from Cromwell and his 
train that he killed his horse, and, having no money to purchase a 
substitute, he was under the necessity of trying his fortune upon 
foot, until he should find means to procure another. It was not 
long before he espied a horse tied to a hedge with a saddle on and 
a brace of pistols attached to it He looked round and observed a 
gentleman on the other side of the hedge. " This is my horse," 
exclaimed the captain, and immediately vaulted into the saddle. 
The gentleman called out to him that the horse was his. " Sir, 
said Hind, " you may think yourself well off that I have left you 
all the money in your pocket to buy another, which you had best 
lay out before I meet you again, lest you should be worse used." 
So saying, he rode off in search of new booty. 

There is another story of Hind's ingenious method of supplying 
himself with a horse upon a similar occasion. It appears that, being 
upon a second extremity reduced to the humble station of a footpad, 
he hired a sorry nag, and proceeded on his journey. He was over- 
taken by a gentleman mounted on a fine hunter, with a portmanteau 
behind him. They entered into conversation upon such topics as 
are common to travellers, and Hind was very eloquent in the praise 
of the gentleman's horse, which inclined the other to descant upon 
the qualifications of the animal. There was upon one side of the 
road a wall, which the gentleman said his horse would leap over. 
Hind offered to risk a bottle on it, to which the gentleman agreed, 
and quickly made his horse leap over. The captain acknowledged 
that he had lost his wager, but requested the gentleman to let hiin 
try if he could do the same ; to which he consented, and the captain, 
being seated in the saddle of his companion, rode off at full speed 
and left him to return the other miserable animal to its owner. 

At another time the captain met the regicide Hugh Peters in 
Enfield chace, and commanded him to deliver his money. Hugh, 
who was not deficient in confidence, began to combat Hind with 
texts 01 scripture, and to cudgel our bold robber with the eighth 


commandment: " It is written in the law," said he, that " Thou 
shalt not steal ;" and furthermore, Solomon, who was surely a very 
wise man, spoke in this manner; " Rob not the poor, because ho 
is poor." Hind was desirous to answer him in his own strain, and 
for that purpose began to rub up his memory for some of the texts 
he had learned when at school. " Verily," said Hind, " if thou 
hadst regarded the divine precepts as thou oughtest to have done, 
thou wouldst not have wrested them to such an abominable and 
wicked sense as thou didst the wov-'Is of the prophet, when he said, 
' Bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron.* 
Didst thou not then, detestable hypocrite, endeavour, from these 
words, to aggravate the misfortunes of thy royal master, whom 
thy cursed republican party unjustly murdered by the gate of his 
own palace ?" Here Hugh Peters began to extenuate that proceed- 
ing, and to allege other parts of the scripture in his own defence. 
" Pray, Sir," replied Hind, " make no reflections against men of 
my profession, for Solomon plainly said, * do not despise a thief.' 
But it is to little purpose for us to dispute, the substance of what I 
have to say is this, deliver thy money presently, or else I shall send 
thee out of the world to thy master, the devil, in an instant." 
These terrible words of the captain's so terrified the old Presbyte- 
rian, that he forthwith gave him thirty broad pieces of gold and 
then departed. 

But Hind was not satisfied with allowing so bitter an enemy to 
the royal cause to depart in such a manner. He accordingly rode 
after him at full speed, and, overtaking him, addressed him in the 
following language — " Sir, now I think of it, I am convinced this 
misfortune has happened to you because you did not obey the words 
of the scripture, which expressly says, ' provide neither gold, nor 
silver, nor brass in your purses, for your journey,' whereas it is 
evident that you had provided a pretty decent quantity of gold. 
However, as it is now in my power to make you fulfil another 
commandment, I would by no means slip the opportunity ; there- 
fore pray give me thy cloak." Peters was so surprised that he 
neither stood still to dispute nor to examine what was the drift of 
Hind's demand. But he soon made him understand his meaning, 
when he added, " You know, Sir, our Saviour has commanded, 
that if any man take away thy cloak, thou must not refuse thy coat 
also ; therefore I cannot suppose that you will act in direct contra- 
diction to such an express command, especially as you cannot 
pretend you have forgot it, seeing I now remind you of that duty." 
The old Puritan shrugged his shoulders some time before he pre- 


cecded to uncase them; but Hind told him that his delay would be 
of no service to him, f >r he would be implicitly obeyed, because 
he was sure that what he requested was entirely consonant with the 
scripture. He accordingly surrendered, and Hind carried off the 

The following sabbath, when Hugh ascended the pulpit, he was 
inclined to pour forth an invective against stealing, and selected 
for his subject these words. " I have put off my coat, how shall I 
put it on ?" an honest plain man, who was present, and knew how 
he had been treated by the robber, promptly cried out, " Upon my 
word, Sir, I believe there is nobody here can tell you, unless 
Captain Hind were here. 5 * Which ready answer to Hugh's scrip- 
tural question put the congregation into such an outrageous fit of 
laughter, that the parson was made to blush, and descended from 
his pulpit, without prosecuting the subject farther. 

The captain as before mentioned, indulged a rooted hatred 
against all those who were concerned in the murder of the late 
king; and frequently these men fell in his way. He was one day 
riding on the road, when President Bradshaw, who had sat as 
judge upon the king, and passed the sentence of death upon him, 
met with the captain. The place where they came into collision 
was on the road between Sherbourne and Shaftesbury. Hind 
rode up to the coach, and demanded Bradshaw's money, who, sup- 
posing that his very name would convey terror along with it, 
informed him who he was. " Marry," cried Hind, " I neither fear 
you nor any king-killing villain alive. I have now as much power 
over you, as you lately had over the king, and I should do God and 
my country good service, if I made the same use of it ; but live, 
villain, to suffer the pangs of thine own conscience, till justice 
shall lay her iron hand upon thee, and require an answer for thy 
crimes, in a way more proper for such a monster, who art unworthy 
to die by any hands but those of the common hangman, or at any 
other place than Tyburn. Nevertheless, though I spare thy life 
as a regicide, be assured, that unless thy money is delivered up 
immediately, thou shalt die for thy obstinacy." 

Bradshaw began to perceive that the case was not now with him 
as it was when he sat at Westminster Hall, supported by all the 
strength of the rebellion. Fear took possession of his soul, and 
discovered itself in his countenance. He put his trembling hand 
into his pocket, and pulled out about forty shillings in silver, which 
he presented to the captain, who swore he would that minute shoo 
tim through the heart, unlets he four' 1 coin of another species 


To save his life, the sergeant pulled out that which he valued next 
to it, and presented the captain with a purse full of Jacobuses. 

But though Hind had got possession of the cash, he was inclined 
to detain the sergeant a little longer, and began the following 
eulogium upon the value of money: — 

" This, sir, is the metal that wins my heart for ever ! O precious 
gold! I admire and adore thee, as much as either Bradshaw, 
Prynne, or any other villain of the same stamp, who, for the sake 
of thee, would sell his Redeemer again, were he upon earth. This 
is that incomparable medicament, which the republican physicians 
call the wonder-working plaster ; it is truly catholic in operation, 
and somewhat of kin to the Jesuit's powder, but more effectual. 
The virtues of it are strange and various : it maketh justice deaf, 
as well as blind ; and takes out spots of the deepest treasons as 
easily as Castile soap does common stains ; it alters a man's con- 
stitution in two or three days, more than the virtuoso's transfusion 
of blood can do in seven years. It is a great alexipharmic, and 
helps poisonous principles of rebellion, and those that use them ; 
it miraculously exalts and purifies the eye-sight, and makes traitors 
behold nothing but innocence in the blackest malefactors ; it is a 
mighty cordial for a declining cause ; it stifles faction and schism as 
certainly as rats are destroyed by common arsenic; in a word, it 
makes fools wise men, and wise men fools, and both of them knaves. 
The very colour of this precious balm is bright and dazzling. L 
it be properly applied to the fist, that is in a decent manner, and 
in a competent dose, it infallibly performs all the above-mentioned 
cures, and many others too numerous to be here mentioned." 

The captain having finished his panegyric upon the virtues 
of the glittering metal, pulled out his pistol, and again addressed 
the sergeant, saying, " You and your infernal crew have a 
long while run on, like Jehu, in a career of blood and impiety, 
falsely pretending that zeal for the Lord of Hosts has been 
your only motive. How long you may be suffered to continue in 
the same course, God only knows. I will, however, for this time, 
stop your race in a literal sense of the word." And without farther 
delay, he shot all the six horses that were in the carriage, and left 
Bradshaw to ponder on the lesson he had received. 

Hind's next adventure was with a company of ladies, in a coach 
upon the road between Petersfield and Portsmouth. He accosted 
them in a polite manner, and informed them that he was a protector 
of the fair sex, and it was purely to win the favour of a hard-hearted 
mistress ' Pr* l e had travelled the country. " But, ladies," added 


no, •• X am at this tune reduced to the necessity of asking rel.ef 
having nothing to carry me on in the intended prosecution of my 
adventures." The young ladies who had read many romances, 
could not help concluding that they had met with some Quixote or 
Amadis de Gaul, who was saluting them in the strains of knight- 
errantry. " Sir knight," said one of the most jocular of the com- 
pany, " we heartily commiserate your condition, and are very 
much troubled that we cannot contribute towards your support j^for 
we have nothing about us but a sacred depositum, which the laws of 
your order will not suffer you to violate." The captain was much 
pleased at having met with such a pleasant lady, and was much 
inclined to have permitted them to proceed ; but his necessities were 
at this time very urgent. " May I, bright ladies, be favoured with 
♦he knowledge of what this sacred depositum, which you speak of, 
is, that so I may employ my utmost abilities in its defence, as the 
laws of knight-errantry require." The lady who had spoken before 
told him, that the depositum she had spoken of was £3U00, the 
portion of one of the company, who was going to bestow it upon 
the knight who had won her good-will by his many past services. 
" Present my humble duty to the knight," said he, " and be pleased 
to tell him that my name is Captain Hind ; that out of mere neces- 
sity I have made bold to borrow part of what, for his sake, I wish 
were twice as much ; that I promise to expend the sum in defence 
of injured lovers, and in the support of gentlemen who profess 
knight-errantry." Upon the name of Captain Hind, the fair ones 
were sufficiently alarmed, as his name was well known all over 
England. He, however, requested them not to be affrighted, for 
he would not do them the least injury, and only requested £1000 
of the £3000. As the money was bound up in several parcels, the 
request was instantly complied with, and our adventurer wished 
them a prosperous journey, and many happy days to the bride. 

Taking leave of the captain for a little, we shall inform our 
readers of the consequences of this extorted loan of the captain's. 
When the bride arrived at the dwelling of her intended husband, 
she faithfully recounted to hiin her adventures upon the road. The 
avaricious lover refused to accept her hand until her father should 
agree to make up the loss. Partly because he detested the request, 
and partly because he had sufficiently exhausted his funds, the 
father refused to comply. Her hand was therefore declined, because 
it was emp ied of the third part of her fortune; and the affectionate 
and high-sp* ited lady died of a broken heart. Hind often declared 
mat mis adventure cost him great uneasiness, while it tilled him 


with detestation at the dishonourable and base conduct of the 
.'nercenary lover. 

The transactions of Hind were now become so numerous, and 
made him so well known, that he was forced to conceal himself in 
the country. During this cessation from his usual industrious 

abours, his funds became so exhausted, that even his horse was 
sold to maintain his own life. Impelled by necessity, he often 
resolved to hazard a few movements upon the highway; but he had 
trafficked so long in that quarter, that he dared not risk any adven- 
ture of that kind. Fortune however commiserated the condition of 
the captain, and provided relief. He was informed that a doctor, 
who resided in the neighbourhood, had gone to receive a handsome 
fee for a cure which he had effected. The captain then lived in a 
small house which he had hired upon the side of a common, and 
which the doctor had to pass in his journey home. Hind, having 
long and impatiently waited his arrival, ran up to him, and in the 
most piteous tone and suppliant language, told the doctor his wife 
was suddenly seized with illness, that unless she got some assistance, 
she would certainly perish, and entreated him just to tarry for a 
minute or two, and lend her his medical assistance, and he would 
gratefully pay him for his trouble as soon as it was in his power. 

The tender-hearted doctor, moved with compassion, alighted 
and accompanied him into his house, assuring him that he should 
be very happy to be of any service in restoring his wife to health. 
Hind showed the doctor up-stairs ; but they had no sooner entered 
the door, than he locked it, presented a pistol, showing, at the 
same time, his empty purse, saying : — " This is my wife ; she has 
so long been unwell, that there is now nothing at all within her. 
I know, Sir, that you have a golden remedy in your pocket for her 
distemper, and if you do not apply it without a word, this pistol 
shall make the day shine into your body !" The doctor would have 
been content to have lost his fee, upon condition of being delivered 
from the importunities of his patient; but it required only a small 
degree of the knowledge of symptoms to be convinced, that obedi- 
ence was the only thing which remained for him to observe : he 
therefore emptied his own purse of forty guineas into that of the 
captain, and thus left our hero's wife in a convalescent state. Hind 
then informed the doctor, that he would leave him in possession of 
his whole house, to reimburse him for the money which he had taken 
from him. So saying, he locked the door upon the doctor, mount- 
ed that gentleman's horse, and went in quest of another county, 
because the one he was in would, in consequence of this adventure, 
become too dangerous for mm. 


Hind has been often celebrated for his generosity to the poor; 
and the following is a remarkable instance of his virtue in that 
particular. He was upon one occasion extremely destitute of cash, 
and had waited long upon the road without receiving any supply. 
An old man, jogging along upon an ass, at length appeared. He 
rode up to him, and very politely inquired where he was going. 
,c To the market, at Wantage,'* said the old man, " to buy me a 
cow, that I may have some milk for my children." " How many 
children have you?" The old man answered, " Ten." " Antf 
how much do you mean to give for a cow ?" said Hind. " I have 
but forty shillings, master, and that I have been scraping together 
these two years." Hind's heart ached for the poor man's condition ; 
at the same time he could not help admiring his simplicity ; but, 
being in absolute want himself, he thought of an expedient which 
would serve both himself and the poor old man. U Father," said he, 
" the money which you have is necessary for me at this time; but 
I will not wrong your children of their milk. My name is Hind, 
and if you will give me your forty shillings quietiy, and meet me 
again this day se'nnight at this place, I promise to make the sum 
double." The old man reluctantly consented, and Hind enjoined 
him " to be cautious not to mention a word of the matter to any 
body between this and that time." The old man came at the ap- 
pointed time, and received as much as would purchase two cows, 
and twenty shillings more, that he might thereby have the best in 
the market. 

Though Hind had long frequented the road, yet he carefully 
avoided shedding blood ; and the following is the only instance of 
this nature related of him. He had one morning committed several 
robberies, and among others, had taken more than £70 from Colonel 
Harrison, the celebrated Parliamentary general. As the Round* 
heads were Hind's inveterate foes, the colonel immediately raised 
the hue-and-cry after him, which was circulated in that part of the 
country before the captain was aware o» it. At last, however, he 
received intelligence at one of the inns upon the road, and made 
every possible haste to fly the scene of danger. In this situation 
the captain was apprehensive of every person he met upon the road. 
He had reached the place called Knowl Hill, when the servant of 
a gentleman, who was following his master, came riding at full 
speed behind him. Hind, supposing that it was one in pursuit of 
himself, upon his coming up, turned about, and shot him through 
the head, when the unfortunate man fell dead upon the spot 
Fortune favoured the captain at this time, and he got off in safety. 
The following adventure closes the narrative of Hind's busy life. 


A i*x Charles I. was beheaded, the Scots remained loyal, proclaimed 
his son Charles II., and resolved to maintain his right against the 
usurper. They suddenly raised an army, and, entering England, 
proceeded as far as Worcester. Multitudes of the English joined 
the royal army, and among these Captain Hind, who was loyal 
from principle, and brave by nature. Cromwell was sent by 
Parliament with an army to intercept the march of the royalists. 
Both armies met at Worcester, and a desperate and bloody battle 
ensued. The king's army was routed. Captain Hind had the 
good fortune to escape, and reaching London, lived in a retired 
situation. Here, however, he had not remained long, when he 
was betrayed by one of his intimate acquaintances. It will readily 
be granted that his actions merited death by the laws of his country, 
but the mind recoils with horror from the thought of treachery in 
an intimate friend. 

Hind was carried before the Speaker of the House of Commons, 
and, after a long examination, was committed to Newgate and 
loaded with irons; nor was any person allowed to converse with 
him without a special permission. He was brought to the bar of 
the Session-house at the Old Baily, indicted for several crimes, but, 
for want of sufficient evidence, nothing worthy of death could be 
proved against him. Not long after this, he was sent down to 
Reading under a strong guard, and, being arraigned before Judge 
Warburton, for killing George Symson at Knowl Hill, as formerly 
mentioned, he was convicted of wilful murder. An act of indem- 
nity for all past offences was issued at this time, and he hoped to 
have been included ; but an order of council removed him to Wor- 
cester gaol, where he was condemned for high treason, and hanged, 
drawn and quartered, on the 24th September, 1652, aged thirty- 
four years. His head was stuck upon the top of the bridge over 
the Severn, and the other parts of his body placed upon the gates 
of the city. The head was privately taken down and interred, but 
the remaining parts of his body remained until consumed by the 
influence of the weather. 

In his last moments he declared that his principal depredations 
had been committed against the republican party, and that nothing 
grieved him so much as not living to see his royal master restored. 
In his confession which he made previous to his death, he merely 
declares that he departed from England and went to the Hague; 
but after three days went to Ireland, and landed at Galloway, and 
became corporal to the Marquis of Ormond's life-guard; was 
wounded at Youghal, in the right arm and hand ; made an escape 


to Duncannon, thence to Sicily, and the Isle of Man; went to 
Scotland, sent, a letter to his majesty, and represented my services, 
&c. which was favourably accepted; for no sooner had the king 
notice of my coming, but immediately had admittance and kissed 
his hand, and commended me to the Duke of Buckingham, then 
present ; came to England, was in the engagements of Warrington 
and Worcester, where I kept the field till the king fled ; and in 
the evening, the gates being full of flying persons, 1 leaped over 
the wall by myself only, travelled the country, and lay three days 
under bushes and hedges, because of the soldiery, till I came to Sir 
John Packington's woods, where I lay five days; and afterward 
came on foot to London, by the name of James Brown; lodged 
five weeks in London, and was taken November 9th, 1651, at 
Dowry the barber's, near Dunstan's church, in Fleet-street. This 
is all that was declared by him, who remains captived in close 
prison in the gaol of Newgate. — James Hind. 

The following are a few verses to his memory, which, if not 
remarkable for poetical merit, are interesting, and not withoa # . 



Whenever death attacks a throne 
Nature through all her parts must groan, 
The mighty monarch to bemoan. 

He must be wise, and just, and good, 
Though not the state he understood, 
Nor ever spar'd a subject's blood. 

And shall no friendly poet find 
A monumental verse for Hind, — 
In fortune less, as great in mind ? 

Hind made our wealth one common stoir;, 
Ho robb'd the rich to feed the poor, — 
What did immortal Cassar more ? 

Nay, 'twere not difficult to prove 
That meaner views did Caesar move-: 
His was ambition, Hind's was bvr. 


Our English hero sought no crown. 
Nor that more pleasing bait, renowu i 
But just to keep off fortune's frown. 

Yet when his country's cause invites. 
See him assert a nation's rights '. 
A robber for a monarch fignts ! 

If in due light his deeds we scan, 
As nature points us out the plan, 
Hind was an honourable man. 

Honour, the virtue of the biave, 
To Hind that turn of genius gave, 
Which made him scorn to be a slave. 

Thus, had his stars conspir'd to raise 
H13 natal hour, this virtue's praise 
Had shown with an uncommon blazr. 

Some new epocha had begun 
From every action he had done ; 
A city built, a battle won. 

If one's a subject, one at helm, 
'Tis the same vi'lence, says Anseltn 
To rob a house or waste a realm. 

Be henceforth, then, for ever join 'o', 
The names of Caesar and of Hind: 
In fortune different, one in mind. 

The only portrait of this singular man extant is that which is 
prefixed to his confession, and which is now very scarce; a copy 
from this was Tiade by Richardson, in his collection, which is 
readily to be met witn. There is also an engraving of a man in 
armour on hors°back, bearing the name of Captain John Hind, 
but it is not authentic, being a portrait of Charles II. altered. — See 
Granger's Biographical History of England, vol. 4. 





Tins hero, who, with his merry men, ravaged the Scottish country 
and pillaged the inhabitants, was descended of a very good family, 
and born in Perthshire, in the Highlands of Scotland ; his father 
died just as he was of age, when leaving him an estate of about 
80 marks a year, he thought himself fully capable to the manage- 
ment of it, without the advice of his friends : by which means he, 
in short managed it all away, and run through it in about a year 
and a half; upon which he soon became very needy, and a fit sub- 
ject to be moulded into any shape that had an appearance of profit. 
Having thus, by his irregularities, reduced himself to a very poor 
condition, he was very burthensome to his mother, who often sup- 
plied him with money out of her jointure, which he always quickly 
consumed; but she perceiving that no good admonitions would 
reclaim his extravagancy, withheld her hand, and would not 
answer his expectation ; whereupon, lying at her house one night, 
he arose, entered his mother's bed-chamber, cut her throat 
with a razor, and then plundered and burnt the house to the 

This unparalleled piece of villainy filled the whole country with 
horror, and a proclamation was issued out for his apprehension, 
with a considerable reward to them that should bring him to justice. 
He then fled into France, where being on a solemn day at the church 
of St. Denis, in Paris, whilst Cardinal Richlieu was celebrating 
high mass, at which the king was present, Gilder Roy had his 
hand in the Cardinal's purse, which was hanging at his side, while 
he was officiating at the altar; his majesty perceiving the transac- 
tion, Gilder Roy ; who was dressed like a gentleman, seeing himself 
discovered, held up his finger to the king, making a sign to tak 
no notice, and he should see good sport. The king, glad of such 
an occasion of mirth, let him alone; and a little while after, coming 
to the Cardinal, he took occasion, in discourse, to oblige him to look 
into his purse for money, which he missing, began to wonder. The 
king knowing which way it went, was more than ordinarily 
merry ; until, being tired with laughter, he was willing that the 
Cardinal might have again what was taken Iron' him The kiu# 


thought that he who took the money was an honest gentleman, and 
of some account, as he kept his countenance so well; but Gilder 
Roy had more wit than to come near them, for he acted not in jest, 
but in good earnest. Then the Cardinal turned all the laughter 
against the king, who using his common oath, swore by the faith 
of a gentleman, it was the first time that ever a thief had made 
him his companion. 

He went from France into Spain, and being one day at Madrid, 
he went into the Duke of Medina-Celi's house, when that grandee 
had made a great entertainment for several foreign ministers. 
Several pieces of plate were locked in a trunk, and stood in a little 
room next to a hall where the feast was, in which room many ser- 
vants were waiting for their masters. Gilder Roy went in a Spanish 
habit, accoutred in all respects like the steward of the house, and 
going to those that sat on the trunk, desired them to rise, because 
he was going to use it : which they having done, he caused it to be 
taken up by some porters that followed him in, and got clear 
off with it. 

Gilder Roy having been about three years out of his own 
country, and thinking the villainy which he had perpetrated there 
was forgotten, returned to Scotland again, where he soon became 
a most notable highwayman ; and the first person on whom he 
exercised this unlawful calling, was the Earl of Linlithgow, whom 
he robbed of a gold watch, a diamond ring, and eighty pieces of 
gold. In a little time his name became so dreaded through the 
whole country, that travellers were afraid to pass the roads without 
a great many in company ; and when money was short with him, 
he would enter into Athol, Lochaber, Anguis, Mar, Baquehan, 
Murray, Sutherland, and other shires in the north of Scotland, 
and drive away the people's cattle, unless they paid him contribu- 
tion, which they did quarterly, and had his protection ; which was 
safeguard enough for their own persons, or goods, from receiving 
damage by him, or any of his gang. 

When Oliver Cromwell embarked at Donaghadey, in the north 
of Ireland, and landed at Port-Patrick in Scotland, the news 
thereof came to Gilder Roy, who was then lurking in the Shire of 
Galloway, accordingly he met him on the road towards Glasgow, 
Cromwell having only two servants with him, he commanded him to 
stand and deliver, but the former, thinking three to one was odds, 
refused to obey ; they then came to an engagement, and several 
pistols were discharged on both sides for nearly a quarter of an 
hour ; when the bold robber pretended to yield his antagonists 


the day, by running as fast as he could from them ; they pursu- 
ed him very closely for near half an hour, and then suddenly 
turning upon them, the first mischief he did was shooting Oliver's 
horse, which, falling on his side as soon as wounded, broke the 
Protector's leg; as for his servants, he shot one of them through the 
head, and the other, begging quarter, it was granted ; but Oliver 
being disabled, he had the civility to put him on an ass, and, 
tying his legs under his belly, sent them both to seek tjjeir 

Three of his roguish companions being apprehended and sent to 
the Tolbooth, a prison in Edinburgh, they broke out, but were soon 
retaken, and committed to Glasgow gaol ; and soon after they were 
executed without the gates of the city, and left hanging on the gal- 
lows, until their carcases should rot and fall away by piece-meal. 
Gilder Roy highly resenting the indignity thus offered to his 
comrades in iniquity, vowed revenge ; and it not being long before 
he met the judge who passed the sentence upon them, in the road 
going to Aberdeen, he attacked his coach, first stripping his coach- 
man and two footmen, and tying their hands and feet, threw them 
into a deep pond; he then robbed the judge of all he had valuable 
about him, cut the coach to pieces, and shot the four horses that 
were in it dead. But not being satisfied with this barbarity, he 
drove the judge into a wood, and bound him to a tree; at night he 
went with some of his accomplices, and putting him on a horse 
behind one of them, brought him to the gallows where his three 
comrades were still hanging; which gallows was made like a turn- 
stile, only the beams, on each end of which is nailed a strong iron 
hook, to which the rope is fastened, has no motion. " Now," said 
Gilder Roy to the judge, " by my soul, mon, as this unlucky struc- 
ture, erected to break people's craigs, is not uniform without a 
fourth person taking his lodging here too, 1 must e'en hang you 
upon the vacant beam.'* Accordingly he was as good as his word , 
and for fear the government should not know who was the hangman, 
he sent a letter to the ministers of state, to acquaint them with 
his proceedings. This insolence caused the legislature to contrive 
ways and means to suppress the audaciousness of Gilder Roy, 
and his companions, who were dreaded far and near; and AinODg 
them one Jennet, a lawyer, promoted the law for hanging a high- 
wayman first, and judging him afterwards; which law being ap- 
proved of, it received the sanction of the Government, without 
any contradiction, and was often put in force against many gen- 
tlemen of the road. 

GILDElt HOY. 5¥ 

Gilder Roy being thus successful in his villanies, grew so 
intolerably wicked, that it was his delight, not only to rob on the 
highway, but also to murder those who refused to give him what 
they had, and burn houses and barns where the least affront was 
offered him. But at last a second proclamation being issued for 
his apprehension, with a reward of one thousand marks for any 
one that should take him, dead or alive, one Margaret Cunningham* 
with whom he kept company, betrayed him when he came next to 
her house; which being surrounded by about fifty men, and he 
sensible by whom he was trepanned, ran into her bed-chamber, 
and murdered her ; he then returned to the room from whence he 
came, and defended himself with such undaunted bravery, that 
before they could take him, he killed eight of them ; but then he 
was overpowered and put into a dismal dungeon, in the castle of 
Edinburgh, where he had heavy shackles put on his legs, strong 
chains about his middle, and his hands fastened behind him ; in 
that state he was kept three days and nights, without any allowance 
of victuals or drink ; when, without any trial, he was conveyed by 
a strong guard to the market-cross in Edinburgh, and was there 
hanged on a gibbet, thirty feet high, in April, 1658, aged M years. 
He was afterwards hung in chains on another gibbet, erected 
ten feet higher, between that city and Leith. 

If traditional report be true, it would seem that Gilder Roy belong- 
ed to the proscribed " clan Gregor ;" and in these traditions 
many other romantic exploits are told of him. The ancient 
ballad recording his fall was composed not long after his death 
by a young woman who unfortunately was attached to him. 
That the ballad was popular in England before 1650 is evident 
from a black-letter copy of it, printed at least as early as that 
date. Another copy occurs, with some few variations, in Playford's 
;< Wit and Mirth," Vol. III. 1702. The sentiments and language 
of the olden time are not always in strict accordance with the 
modern prudery: we are no less prurient, but we are infinitely 
more precise. Certain freedoms have been skillfully pruned aw.y 
by the judicious hand of Miss Halket, of Pitferran, who afte • 
wards married Sir Henry Wardlaw, of Pitreavie, in Fifeshire 
This amiable and accomplished lady, whose talent is well known as 
the authoress of '* Hardiknute," has softened, expunged, and 
added, as necessity might require; and the result of her labours we 
now present to the public: — 



Wilder Roy was a bonnie boy, 

Had roses tull his shoone, 
His stockings were of silken so/, 

Wi garters hanging donne : 
It was, I weene, a comelie sight 

To see sae trim a boy ; 
He was my jo and heart's delight, 

My handsome Gilder Roy. 

Oh, sike twa charming een he had, 

A breath as sweet as rose ; 
He never ware a Highland plaid, 

But costly silken cloathes : 
He gain'd the luve of ladies gay, 

Nane e'er tull him was coy ; 
Ah, wae is mee ! I mourn the day 

For my dear Gilder Roy. 

My Gilder Roy and I were born 

Baith in one toun together ; 
We scant were seven years beforn 

We gan to luve each other. 
Our dadies and our mammies thej 

Were filled wimickle joy, 
To think upon the bridal day 

'Twixt me and Gilder Roy. 

For Gilder Roy, that luve of min» 

Gude faith, I freely bought 
A wedding sark of Holland fine, 

Wi silken flowers wrought; 
And he gied me a wedding nn$r 

Which I receiv'd wi joy ; 
Nae lad nor lassie eir could sinj? 

.Like me and Gilder Roy. 

Wi mickle joy we spent our pnm i 
Till we were baith sixteen, 

And aft we past the langsome time 
Ainung the leaves sae green : 


Aft on the banks we'd sit us thair. 

And sweetly kiss and toy ; 
Wi garlands gay wad deck my hair 

My handsome Gilder Roy. 

Oh, that he still had been content. 

Wi me to lead his life , 
But, ah ! his manfu' heart was bent 

To stir in feates of strife. 
And he in many a venturous deed 

His courage bauld wad try ; 
And now this gars mine heart to bleed 

For my dear Gilder Roy. 

And when of me his leave he tuik, 

i'he tears they wat mine ee : 
I gave tull him a parting luik, 

" My benison gang wi thee: 
God speed thee well, mine ain dear heart i 

For gane is all my joy, 
My heart is rent sith we maun part, 

My handsome Gilder Roy !" 

My Gilder Roy, baith far and near, 

Was fear'd in every toun, 
And bauldly bare away the gear 

Of money a lowland loun. 
Nane e'ir durst meet him man to man, 

He was sae brave a boy; 
At length with numbers he was ta'en. 

My winsome Gilder Roy. 

Wae worth the loun that made the laws 

To hang a man for gear ; 
To reave of life for ox or ass, 

For sheep, or horse, or mare ! 
Had not their laws been made sae stncl \, 

I neir had lost my joy ; 
Wi sorrow neir had wat my cheek 

ifor my dear Gilder Roy. 


Giff Gilder Itoy had done amisse, 

He maught hae banished been ; 
Ah ! what sair cruelty is this, 

To hang sike handsome men ! 
To hang the flower o' Scottish land, 

Sae sweet and fair a boy ! 
Nae lady had sae white a hand 

As thee, my Gilder Roy. 

Of Gilder Roy sae traid tney were, 

They bound him mickle strong; 
Tall Edenburrow they led him thair, 

And on a gallows hung : 
They hung him high aboon the rest, 

That was sae trim a boy; 
Thair dyed the youth whom 1 lued bpit 

My handsome Gilder Roy. 

Thus having yielded up his breath, 

I bore his corpse away ; 
W»i tears, that trickled for his death, 

1 wash't his comelye clay; 
And siker in a grave sae deep 

I laid the dear lued boy ; 
And now for ever maun I weep 

My winsome Gilder Roy ! 


This singular character was a native of Berkshire, and born about 
the year 1622. His father had a small estate, with which, by 
cultivating it himself, he rendered his family comfortable. Philip 
was an only child, and therefore received such an education as 
the place and circumstances of his father could afford. But while 
at school, he was more distinguished for boxing and wrestling, than 
for the exercise of his mental faculties. 

When the time generally allotted to young men of a moderate 
fortune at school was expired, Philip was taken home, and destined 


by his father to follow the plough. In his youthful years he imbibed 
the principles of religion and of loyalty which were current in 
that eventful period ; when war commenced between Charles I. 
and his subjects, Stafford was one of the first who joined the royal 
standard. He continued in the army during that successful rebel- 
lion, but his actions are involved in the obscurity of the times. It 
is obvious, however, that he signalized himself, as he received the 
name of captain during that war. 

Upon the death of Charles, the opposite party were invested with 
all power, and the loyalists were constrained to conceal themselves 
from the fury of their adversaries. The small estate of Stafford 
was, among many others, sequestrated, and he was thereby deprived 
of all means of subsistence. In these desperate circumstances he 
formed the resolution of making depredations upon th.e enemies of 
his late king, and he considered that it was just to levy contribu- 
tions upon those who had taken away the life of his prince and had 
deprived him of his paternal inheritance. 

He first cast his eyes upon an old republican, who had drunk 
deep in the troubled stream of the times, and had married a young 
lady in order to obtain her fortune. In the character of a servant, 
and assuming the dress and the language of the party, he succeeded 
in hiring himself as a servant into that family. By his insinuating 
address and engaging manners, he won the affections of his master, 
and was soon admitted to enter into conversation with him and 
his mistress, and in the most dexterous manner imitated the reli- 
gious phrases and sentiments of the Puritans. But he soon employ- 
ed language of a different kind to his mistress ; alienated her affec- 
tions from her lawful husband, and so grossly imposed upon him, 
that, when he would sometimes unexpectedly find them alone and 
in close conversation, he would conclude that religion was the 
subject of their earnest conversation. Under the disguise of reli- 
gion, and emboldened by the credulity of the old husband, Stafford 
remained with increasing favour in the family, until an heir was 
born to enjoy the fortune of the good old republican. 

Indifferent to all the ties of honour and of religion, Stafford and 
the lady carried on their criminal correspondence : and often amus- 
ed themselves with the credulity of the husband and his unabated 
attachment to Stafford. In the moments of wanton levity, the 
lady had made him a present of a ring and also of some jewels, and 
had not only informed him of a quantity of jewels which her hus- 
band had collected, but actually showed him the place where they 
were deposited. The violent passion of avarice now assumed its 


dominion over him, and he formed the resolution to seize the cabinet 
of jewels, and even to abandon his favourite mistress in quest of 
new adventures. 

But his plan could not be effected without the aid of some other 
person, and he was iong doubtful whom he could trust in so delicate 
and important a matter. At last he fixed upon one named Tom 
Perry, the son of a French refugee, whom he had formerly known 
at school, and with whose temper and disposition he was thorougWy 
acquainted. He, accordingly, provided a key to the door of the 
place where the jewels were deposited, took care to have the window 
so broken and injured that it appeared to have suffered violence 
from without, had a ladder brought and laid at the foot of the window, 
and such noise made as might be heard by some of the servants. 
Stafford, always attentive to his duty and his master's interest, was 
the first to give the alarm in the morning. The rest of the servants 
were called, they remembered to have heard the noise, they saw the 
ladder, and suspicion could rest upon none of them, far less upon 
the faithful Stafford. 

Perry was successful in disposing of the jewels at a good price, 
and received such a gratuity as was sufficient to retain him in the 
service of his new employer, who remained for some time in his 
station to prevent the shadow of guilt staining the fair character 
which he had so dexterously maintained. 

Fully convinced that he could always render the females subser- 
vient to the accomplishment of his plans, Stafford next directed 
his attack upon a very handsome lady who had been two years 
married. To his no small mortification, however, he found that 
she estimated her favours at the sum of one hundred guineas. 
When all his attempts to alter her first proposal were unsuccessful, 
his inventive mind devised the following scheme to effect his purpose. 
Being upon friendly terms with the husband, and frequently visiting 
in the family, he one day took an opportunity to borrow a hundred 
guineas, under the pretence that he stood in need of that sum to 
complete a £500 purchase, in the meantime showing him £4U) 
which he had in reserve from the late sale of the jewels. He readily 
obtained his request, and, having arranged matters with the lady, 
he came according to appointment, one day to her house, when 
several persons were at dinner and the husband absent. He im- 
mediately pulled out his purse, and addressed her, saying, " I have 
borrowed one hundred guineas from your husband, and as he is 
not here, 1 will leave the money with you, and the parties here 
present will be witnesses to the payment." The good lady, uuac- 

Page 67, 


quainted with the fact that he had borrowed that sum from her 
husband, only supposed that this was a dexterous manoeuvre to 
prevent suspicion of his intentions towards her and received the 
money with all good humour. It is unnecessary to relate the sequel 
of the adventure. 

A few days after, Stafford took an opportunity, when the husband 
was present, to inform him, in the presence of several guests at 
his table, that he had repaid the hundred guineas to his wife that 
he had lately borrowed of him. The lady changed colour, but could 
not deny the fact, and the husband was satisfied with the punctual 
repayment of his money. Nor was Stafford contented with the 
success of his adventure, but took care to have the same whispered 
all over the neighbourhood. 

One day, when Stafford was on his way to his native country, 
with a design only to see his relations, and not to rob any one, as 
at that time he was flush of money, fortune threw in his way a 
considerable prize, which he could not. refuse. At Maidenhead 
Thicket he overtook an old gentleman, whom, from his appearance, 
he immediately supposed to be what was then quaintly termed 
" one of the godly.'* He accosted the traveller in his usual polite 
manner, and, soon discovering the turn of the old gentleman to 
be that of a puritanical fanatic, he so ordered his behaviour as to 
be in perfect harmony and accordance with his neighbour. The 
brethren were delighted with the good fortune which had thrown 
them together ; and the old gentleman in particular expatiated upon 
the goodness of Providence in sending him such a companion : 
" but," said he, tl we must ascribe every thing that befalls us to a 
wise Providence, and, for my part, I am always content with my 
lot, as being assured in myself that all things are for the best, and 
work together for the good of the elect," of whom (as Stafford 
soon discovered by his conversation,) he considered himself one. 
Being arrived however, at the thickest part of the forest, Stafford 
addressed him in his real character, saying, that " as he was a man 
who could be content with any thing, and considered every thing 
as ordered for the best, he had no occasion for so much money as 
he carried with him;" and presenting a pistol to his breast, de- 
manded his purse, and told him he would pray that a good supper 
and a warm bed might be waiting him at the next inn. He received 
the old gentleman's purse with forty guineas in it, and, after lead- 
ing him into the middle of the thicket, tied him to a tree, and 
galloped off through byeways into Buckinghamshire. 

He was overtaken by darkness before he had gained the high 


road, but observing a light at some distance, he rode up to it, and 
found it to proceed from a neat, comfortable country lodging. He 
knocked at the door, and said that, having lost his way, and being 
oenighted, if he could be favoured with a lodging for the night, he 
would thankfully pay for it. The mistress of the house had been 
expecting her husband from London; and thinking it was he, she 
came to the door, when, hearing his story, and believing him, from 
his appearance to be a gentleman, she ordered his horse to the sta41e, 
and invited him to partake of a comfortable supper she had prepar- 
ed for her husband, who seemed to have been detained longer than 
she expected. Stafford wondering at his good fortune, was resolved 
to make the best of his golden opportunity. But the vicious habits 
in which he had now become a proficient, had gained such an 
ascendancy over his natural disposition, that in this instance he 
was guilty of more than common felony : he, with very little grati- 
tude for the favours he had received, tied the lady to her bed, and 
forced her to discover to him where he should find the money and 
plate belonging to her husband. Having secured about £300 worth 
of booty, he went to the stable, mounted his horse, and proceeded 
to London by the most private way he could find, to avoid detection. 

By success in his profession, Stafford amassed a considerable sum 
of money : in order, therefore, to avoid discovery, as he was now 
well known all over the country, he retired to a little village in 
the north of England, and there lived in the most retired and frugal 
manner. The more to avoid suspicion, he assumed the appearance 
of sanctity, attended the church and the private meetings; and, 
exercising his talents, soon acquired great popularity as a speaker 
among (he simple country people. After he had continued there 
about a year, the minister of the congregation dying, he, in a little 
time after, was called to the charge, and with seeming reluctance 
commenced preacher, with the annual income of £40. In this 
station, Stafford acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of the 
congregation, until his predilection for the fair sex rendered it 
necessary for him secretly to retire from that place. Upon his 
departure, however, he took care to carry off the plate and linen 
of the church, to a considerable amount. 

The Captain now assumed his proper character. About four miles 
from Reading he overtook a wealthy fanner, who was returning 
from selling some wheat, and entered into conversation with him, 
and, learning that he was possessed of a certain sum of money, he 
presented a pistol to his breast, threatening him with instant death 
unless he delivered up his purse. The terrified farmer instantly 


complied, and gave Stafford £33. But he had scarcely taken leave 
of the farmer, when two gentlemen, well mounted, came up to 
kirn, and being informed of what had happened, rode after Staffora, 
and in the space of an hour overtook and dismounted him, seized 
the money, and carried him before a justice of the peace, who 
committed him to prison. At the ensuing assizes he was tried and 
condemned. During his confinement he lived in a sumptuous 
manner, was visited by many of his own profession, who formed a 
plan for his deliverance, and agreed to make him their leader. The 
matter, however, transpiring, the day of his execution was changed, 
and Stafford miserably disappointed. 

The Captain was dressed in a fine light coloured suit of clothes, 
with a nosegay in his breast, and appeared perfectly unconcerned. 
In passing a tavern, he called for a pint of wine, and drank it off, 
informing the landlord that he would pay him when he returned. 
Arrived at the place of execution, he looked wistfully around, and 
endeavoured to prolong the time ; but when he saw none coming to 
his assistance, he became pale and trembled greatly. When about 
to be turned off, he presented the Sheriff with a paper, containing 
a short statement of his adventures, and the causes which led him 
to embrace the mode of life which brought him to such a fatal end. 


Some, of our readers may object to the introduction into this work 
of the life of any highwayman, however celebrated, whose fortune 
it was to have been born in France ; but, without insisting upon the 
celebrity of the person whose life we are about to narrate, it will 
be sufficient in reply to say, that many of the adventures achieved 
by Claude du Vail were performed rn this country, and that he is 
accordingly, to all intents and purposes, although a Frenchman 
by birth, an English highwayman by profession. 
This noted person was born at Domfront, in Normandy.* His 

• We find, by reference to an old life of Du Vail, published in 1670, 
that Domfront was a place by no means unlikely to have produced our 
adventurer. Indeed, it appears that common honesty was a most un- 
common ingredient in the moral economy of the place, as the following 
curious extract from the work in question will abundantly testify : — 

" In the days of Charles IX. the Curate of Domfront, out of his own 


father was a miller, and brought up his son in the Catholic faith. 
giving him an education suited to the profession, for which he was 
intended, — namely, that of a footman. But, although his father 
was careful to train up his son in the religion of his ancestors, he 
was himself utterly without religion. He talked more of good cheer 
than of the church ; of sumptuous feasts than of ardent faith ; of 
good wine than of good works. 

Du Vall's parents were exempted from the trouble and expense 
of rearing their son at the age of thirteen. We first find him at 
Rouen, the principal city of Normandy, in the character of a stable- 
boy. H ere he fortunately found retour horses going to Paris ; upon 
one of these he was permitted to ride, on condition of assisting to 
dress them at night. His expenses were likewise defrayed by some 
English travellers whom he met upon the road. 

Arrived at Paris, he continued at the same inn where the English- 
men put up, and, by running on messages, or performing the meanest 
offices, subsisted for a while. He continued in this humble station 
until the restoration of Charles II., when multitudes from the 
Continent returned to England. In the character of a footman to a 
person of quality, Du Vail also repaired to this country. The 
universal joy which seized the nation upon that happy event con- 
taminated the morals of all: riot, dissipation, and every species of 
profligacy abounded. The young and sprightly French footman 

head began a strange innovation and oppression in that parish ; that is, 
he absolutely refused to baptize any of their children, if they would not, 
at the same time, pay him his funeral fees : and what was worse, he would 
give them no reason for this alteration, but only promised to enter bond 
for himself and successors, that hereafter, all persons paying so at their 
christening shall be buried gratis. What think ye the poor people did in 
this case ? They did not pull his surplice over his ears, nor tear his mass- 
book, nor throw crickets at his head : no, they humbly desired him to 
alter his resolutions, and amicably reasoned with him; but ho, being ■ 
capricious fellow, gave them no other answer, but * What 1 have done, 
I have done ; take your remedy where you can And it; it is not lor men 
of my coat to give an account of my actions to the laity :' which was a 
surly and quarrelsome answer, and unbefitting a priest. Yet this did not 
provoke his parishioners to speak one ill word against his person or func- 
tion, or to do any illegal act. They only took the regular way of com- 
plaining of him to his ordinary, the Archbishop of Kouen. Upon summons, 
he appears ; the Archbishop takes him up roundly, tells him he deserves 
deprivation, if that can be proved which is objected against him, and 
asked him, what he had to say for himself? After his due reverence, he 
answers, that he acknowledges the fact, to save the time of examining 


entered keenly into these amusements. His funds, however, being 
soon exhausted, he deemed it no great crime for a Frenchman to 
exact contributions from the English. In a short time, he became 
so dexterous in his new employment, that he had the honour of 
being first named in an advertisement issued for the apprehending 
of some notorious robbers. 

One day, Du Vail and some others espied a knight and his lady 
travelling along in their coach. Seeing themselves in danger of 
being attacked, the lady resorted to a flageolet, and commenced 
playing, which she did very dexterously. Du Vail taking the hint, 
pulled one out of his pocket, began to play, and in this posture 
approached the coach. " Sir," said he to the knight, " your lady 
performs excellently, and 1 make no doubt she dances well; will 
you step out of the coach, and let us have the honour to dance a 
courant with her upon the heath I" " I dare not deny any thing, 
sir," replied the knight readily, " to a gentleman of your quality 
and good behaviour; you seem a man of generosity, and your 
request is perfectly reasonable." Immediately the footman opened 
the door, and the knight out. Du Vail leapt lightly off his horse, 
and handed the lady down. It was surprising to see how gracefully 
he moved upon the grass ; scarcely a dancing master in London 
but would have been proud to have shown such agility in a pair of 
pumps, as Du Vail evinced in a pair of French riding boots. As 

witnesses ; but desires his grace to hear his reasons, and then to do unto 
him as he shall see cause. ' I have,' says he, been curate of this parish 
seven years ; in that time I have, one year with another, baptized a hun- 
dred children, and not buried one. At first I rejoiced at my good fortune 
to be placed in so good an air ; but, looking into the register-book, I 
found, for a hundred years back, near the same number yearly baptized, 
and no one above five years old buried ; and which did more amaze me, 
I find the number of communicants to be no greater now than they were 
then. This seemed to me a great mystery ; but, upon farther enquiry, I 
found out the true cause of it ; for all that were born at Domfront were 
lianged at Rouen. I did this to keep my parishoners from hanging, encou- 
raging them to die at home, the burial duties being already paid.' 

" The Archbishop demanded of the parishioners, whether this was true 
or not ? They answered, that too many of them came to that unlucky 
end at Kouen. ' Well, then,' says he, ' I approve of what the curate 
has done, and will cause my secretary, in perpetuam rei memoriam, to 
make an act of it ;' which act the curate carried home with him, and the 
parish cheerfully submitted to it, and have found much good by it ; for 
within less than twenty years, there died fifteen of natural deaths, and 
now there die three or four yearly." 


soon as the dance waj over, he handed the lady to the coach, but 
just as the knight was stepping in, " Sir," said he, " you forget 
to pay the music." His worship replied, that he never forgot such 
things, and instantly put his hand under the seat of the coach, 
pulled out £ 100 in a bag, which he delivered to DuVall, who received 
it with a very good grace, and courteously answered, " Sir, you 
are liberal, and shall have no cause to regret your generosity ; this 
£100, given so handsomely, is better than ten times the sum talym 
by force. Your noble behaviour has excused you the other £.300 
which you have with you." After this, he gave him his word that 
he might pass undisturbed, if he met any other of his crew, and 
then wished them a good journey. 

At another time, Du Vail and some of his associates met a coach 
upon Blackheath, full of ladies, and a child with them. One of 
the gang rode up to the coach, and in a rude manner robbed the 
ladies of their watches and rings, and even seized a silver sucking- 
bottle of the child's. The infant cried bitterly for its bottle, and 
the ladies earnestly entreated he would only return that article to 
the child, which he barbarously refused. Du Vail went forward 
to discover what detained his accomplice, and, the ladies renewing 
their entreaties to him, he instantly threatened to shoot his com- 
panion, unless he returned that article, saying, " Sirrah, can't 
you behave like a gentleman, and raise a contribution without 
stripping people ; but, perhaps, you had occasion for the sucking- 
bottle yourself, for, by your actions, one would imagine you were 
hardly weaned." This smart reproof had the desired effect, and 
Du Vail, in a courteous manner, took his leave of the ladies. 

One day Du Vail met Roper, master of the hounds to Charles 
II., who was hunting in Windsor Forest; and, taking the advan- 
tage of a thicket, demanded his money, or he would instantly lake 
his life. Roper, without hesitation, gave him his purse, containing 
at least fifty guineas : in return for which, Du Vail bound him neck 
and heel, tied his horse to a tree beside him, and rode across the 

It was a considerable time before the huntsmen discovered their 
master. The squire, being at length released, made all possible 
haste to Windsor, unwilling to venture himself into any more 
thickets for that day, whatever might be the fortune of the hunt. 
Entering the town, he was accosted by Sir Stephen Fox, who 
inquired if he had had any sport. " Sport !" replied Roper, in a 
great passion, " yes, sir, I have had sport enough from a villain 
who made me pay full dear for it; he bound me neck and heels, 


contrary to my desire, and then took fifty guineas from me to pay 
him for his labour, which I had much rather he had omitted." 

England now became too contracted a sphere for the talents of 
our adventurer; and, in consequence of a proclamation issued for 
his detection, and his notoriety in the kingdom, Du Vail retired 
to his native country. At Paris he lived in a very extravagant style, 
and carried on war with rich travellers and fair ladies, and proudly 
coasted that he was equally successful with both ; but his warfare 
with the latter was infinitely more agreeable, though much less 
profitable, than with the former. 

There is one adventure of Du Vail at Paris, which we shall lay 
before our readers. There was in that city a learned Jesuit, con- 
fessor to the French King, who had rendered himself eminent, 
both by his politics and his avarice. His thirst for money was 
insatiable, and increased with his riches. Du Vail devised the 
following plan to obtain a share of the immense wealth of this 
pious father. 

To facilitate his admittance into the Jesuit's company, he dressed 
himself as a scholar, and, waiting a favourable opportunity, he 
went up to him very confidently, and addressed him as follows : 
" May it please your reverence, I am a poor scholar, who have been 
several years travelling over strange countries, to learn experience 
in the sciences, principally to serve my country, for whose especial 
advantage I am determined to apply my knowledge, if I may be 
favoured with the patronage of a man so eminent as yourself." 
" And what may this knowledge of yours be ?" replied the father, 
very much pleased, " if you will communicate any thing to me 
that may be beneficial to France, I assure you, no proper encou- 
ragement shall be wanting on my side." Du Vail, upon this grow- 
ing bolder, proceeded: " Sir, I have spent most of my time in the 
study of alchemy, or the transmutation of metals, and have profited 
so much at Rome and Venice, from great men learned in that 
science, that 1 can change several metals into gold, by the help of 
a philosophical powder which I can prepare very speedily." 

The father confessor was more elated with this communication 
than all the discoveries he had obtained in the way of his profession, 
and his knowledge even of his royal penitent's most private secrets 
gave him less delight than the prospect of immense riches which 
now burst upon his avaricious mind. " Friend," said he, "such 
a thing as this will be serviceable to the whole state, and particu- 
larly grateful to the king, who, as his affairs go at present, stands 
in need of such a curious invention. But you must let me '.ee 


some proof of your skill, before 1 credit what you say. so far as to 
communicate it to his majesty, who will sufficiently reward you, 
if what you promise be demonstrated. Upon this, the confessor 
conducted Du Vail to his house, and furnished him with money to 
erect a laboratory, and to purchase such other materials as were 
requisite, in order to proceed in this invaluable operation, charging 
him to keep the secret from every living soul. Utensils being 
fixed, and every thing in readiness, the Jesuit came to witness 
the wonderful operation. Du Vail took several metals and minerals 
of the basest sort, and put them in a crucible, his reverence view- 
ing every one as he put them in. Our alchymist had prepared a 
hollow tube, into which he conveyed several sprigs of real gold ; 
with this seeming stick he stirred the operation, which, with its 
heat, melted the gold, and the tube at the same time, so that it 
sank imperceptibly into the vessel. When the excessive fire had 
consumed all the different materials which he had put in, the gold 
remained pure to the quantity of an ounce and a half. This the 
Jesuit ordered to be examined, and, ascertaining that it was actu- 
ally pure gold, he became devoted to Du Vail, and, blinded with 
the prospect of future advantage, credited everything our impostor 
said, furnishing him with whatever he demanded, in hopes of being 
made master of this extraordinary secret. Thus were our alchymist 
and Jesuit, according to the old saying, as " great as two pick- 
pockets." Du Vail was a professed robber; and what is a court 
favourite but a picker of the people's pockets ? So that it was two 
sharpers endeavouring to outsharp one another. The confessor was 
as candid as Du Vail could wish ; he showed him all his treasures, 
and several rich jewels which he had received from the king, ho- 
ping, by these obligations, to incline him to discover his wonderful 
secrets with more alacrity. In short, he became so importunate, 
that Du Vail was apprehensive of too minute an enquiry, if he de- 
nied the request any longer; he therefore appointed a day when 
the whole was to be disclosed. In the mean time, he took an 
opportunity of stealing into the chamber where the riches wttt 
deposited, and where his reverence generally slept, after dinner; 
finding him in deep repose, he gently bound him, then took his 
keys, and unhoarded as much of his wealth as he could carry off 
unsuspected; after which, he quickly took leave of him and 

It is uncertain how long Du Vail continued his depredations after 
his return to England; but we arc informed, that in a lit of intox- 
ication he was detected at the Hole-in-the-Wall, in Chandon- 


street, committed to Newgate, convicted, condemned, and exe- 
cuted at Tyburn, in the twenty-seventh year of his age, on the 
1st of January, 1669 : and so much had his gallantries and hand- 
some figure rendered him the favourite of the fair sex, than many 
a oright eye was dimmed at his funeral ; his corpse was bedewed 
witn the tears of beauty, and his actions and death were celebrated 
dv the immortal author of the inimitable Hudibras. H e was buried 
witn many flambeaux, amidst a numerous train of mourners, 
(most of them ladies,) in Covent Garden Church ; a white marble 
stone was laid over him, and the following epitaph engraven on it 

Here lies Du Vail, reader, if male thou art, 
Look to thy purse, if female, to thy heart ; 
Much havoc has he made of both, for all 
Men he made stand, and women he made fall. 

The second Conqueror of the Norman race, 
Knights to his arms did yield, and ladies to his face. 
Old Tyburn's glory, England's bravest thief, 
Du Vail, the ladies' joy — Du Vail, the ladies* grief. 

There is no authentic portrait of this " lady killer" in existence 
that we are aware of. 


Was born at Swepston in Leicestershire. His father once possess- 
ed a considerable estate, but through extravagance lost the whole 
except about sixty pounds per annum. In these reduced circum- 
stances he went to London, intending to live in obscurity, corres- 
ponding to the state of his finances. 

Our young hero had a promising genius, and received a liberal 
education at St. Paul's school. But a naturally vicious disposition 
baffled all restraints. When only nine years old he showed his 
covetous disposition, by robbing his sister of thirty shillings, and 
absconding with it. In a few days, however, he was found, brought 
home, and sent to school, where his vicious propensities were only 
strengthened by indulgence. Impatient of the confinement of a 
school, he next robbed his father of a considerable sum of money, 
and absconded. His fatJher. however, discovered his retreat, and, 
despairing of his settling at home, sent him on board a man-of-war, 


in which he sailed up the straits, and behaved gallantly in several 
actions. Upon his arrival in England, he left the ship, under the 
pretence that a young officer had been preferred before him, uoon 
the death of one of the lieutenants. In a short time he joined a 
band of thieves, assisted them in robbing the country-house of 
admiral Carter, and escaped detection. Having at length com- 
menced robber, the first remarkable affair in which he was en- 
gaged, was that of breaking into the house of a lady at Blackhefth, 
and carrying off a large quantity of plate. 

He and his associates were successful in selling the plate to a 
refiner ; but in a short time he was apprehended for the robbery, 
and committed to Newgate While there, he sent for the refiner, 
and severely reproached him in the following manner : " It is," 
said he, " a hard thing to fina an honest man and a fair dealer: 
for, you cursed rogue, among the plate you bought, there was a cup 
with a cover, which you told us was but silver gilt, buying it at the 
same price with the rest ; but it plainly appeared, by the advertise- 
ment in the gazette, that it was a gold cup and cover; I see you 
are a rogue, and that there is no trusting anybody." Dudley was 
tried, convicted for this robbery, and sentenced to death : but his 
youth, and the interest of his friends, procured him a royal pardon. 
For two years he conducted himself to the satisfaction of his 
father, so that he purchased for him a commission in the army. 
In that situation he also acquitted himself honourably, and mar- 
ried a young lady of a respectable family, with whom he received 
an estate of a hundred and forty pounds a-year. This, with his 
commission, enabled them to live in a genteel manner. Delighting 
however, in company, and having become security for one of his 
companions for a debt, and that person being arrested for it, ono 
of the bailiffs was killed in the scuffle, and Dudley was suspected 
of boing the murderer. What strengthened this suspicion was, 
that Dudley was the avowed enemy of all that class of society. 

Having banished every virtuous feeling, being more inclined 
to live upon the ruins of his country than the fruits of industry, 
and more disposed to fight than to work, he abandoned his 
own house, joined a band of robbers ; and soon became so 
expert in the business, that there was scarcely any robbery 
committed but he acted a principal part in it. Pleased with 
this easy way of obtaining money, and of supporting an extra- 
vagant expenditure, he prevailed upon his brother William, 
to join him in his employment. It happened, however, that 
Will had not been long in his new occupation, when the cap- 


tain was apprehended for robbing a gentleman of a watch, a sword, 
a whip, and nine shillings. But, fortunately for him, the evidence 
was defective, and he escaped death a second time. 

Being fully hardened in vice, he immediately recurred to his old 
trade, robbed on the highway, broke into houses, picked pockets, or 
performed any act of violence or cunning by which he could procure 
money. Fortune favoured him long, and he went on with impuni- 
ty, but was at last apprehended for robbing Sir John Friend's 
house* Upon trial the evidence was decisive, and he received 
sentence of death. His friends again interposed, and through their 
influence his sentence was changed for that of banishment. Ac- 
cordingly, he and several other convicts were put on board a ship 
bound for Barbadoes. But they had scarcely reached the Isle of 
Wight, when he excited his companions to a conspiracy, and, 
having concerted their measures while the ship's company were 
under hatches, they went off with the long boat. 

No sooner had he reached the shore than he abandoned his com- 
panions, and travelled through woods and by-paths. Being in a 
very mean dress, he begged when he had no opportunity to steal. 
Arriving, however, at Hounslow-heath, he met with a farmer, 
robbed him, seized his horse, and, having mounted, set forward in 
quest of new spoils. This was a fortunate day, for Dudley had not 
proceeded far on the heath when a gentleman well dressed, and 
better mounted than the farmer, made his appearance. He was 
commanded to halt and to surrender. Dudley led him into a retired 
thicket, exchanged clothes and horse, rifled his pockets, then ad- 
dressed him, saying, " That he ought never to accuse him of rob- 
bing him, for according to the old proverb, exchange is no robbery;" 
so bidding him good day he marched off" for London. Arrived there 
he went in search of his old associates, who were glad to see their 
friend ; and who, in consequence of his fortunate adventures and 
high reputation among them, conferred upon him the title of cap- 
tain, all agreeing to be subject to his commands. Thus, at the 
head of such an experienced and desperate band, no part of the 
country was secure from his rapine, nor any house sufficiently strong 
to keep him out. The natural consequences were, that he soon be- 
came known and dreaded all over the country. 

To avoid capture, and to prevent all inquiries, he paid a visit to 
the north of England, and, being one day in search of plunder, he 
robbed a Dutch colonel of his horse, arms, and fine laced coat. 
Thus equipped, he committed several other robberies. Atiength, 
however, he laid aside the colonel's habit, only using his hcrse, 


which soon became dexterous at his new employment. But one 
day meeting a gentleman near Epsom, the latter resisted the cap- 
tain's demands, and discharged his pistol at Dudley. In the 
combat, however, he was victorious, wounded the gentleman in 
the leg, and, having stripped him of his money, conveyed him to 
the next village, that he might receive medical assistance, and 
then rode off in search of new adventures. The captain and his 
men were very successful in this quarter. No stage, nor coibh, 
nor passenger, of which they had intelligence, could escape their 
depredations, and scarcely a day passed without the commission of 
some notorious villainy. 

Captain Dudley and his men went on in a continued course of 
good fortune, acquiring much wealth, but amassing little, as their 
extravagance was equal to their gains. On one ill-fated day, how- 
ever, having attacked and robbed the Southampton coach, they 
were keenly pursued, and several cf them taken, but Dudley es- 
caped. Deprived of the chief part of his own forces, he now 
attached himself to some housebreakers, and with them continued 
to commit many robberies ; in particular, with three others, he 
entered the house of an old woman in Spitalfields, gagged her, 
bound her to a chair, and rifled the house of a considerable sum of 
money, which the good woman had been long scraping together. 
Hearing the money clink that was to be taken from her, she strug- 
gled in her chair, fell down upon her face, and was stifled to death, 
while the captain and his companions went off with impunity. But 
when the old woman came to be interred, a grandson of her's, who 
had been one of the robbers, when about to be fitted with a pair of 
mourning gloves, changed countenance, was strongly agitated, and 
began to tremble. He was suspected, charged with the murder, 
confessed the crime, and informing upon the rest, two of them were 
taken, tried, and condemned, and the three hanged in chains. 

Yet, though Dudley's name was published as accessary to the 
murder, he long escaped detection. At length, however, he was 
apprehended, and charged with several robberies, of which he, by 
dexterous management, evaded the deserved punishment. He 
was also called upon to take his trial for the murder of the old wo- 
man ; but the principal evidence, Upon whose testimony the Other 
three were chiefly condemned, being absent, he escaped suffering 
for that crime. The dexterous manner in which he managed that 
trial, the witnesses whom he had suborned, and the manner in 
which he maintained his innocence before the jury, wereoften the 
cause of his boast and amusement. 


The profligate Dudley was no sooner relieved from prison than 
he hastened to join his old companions in vice. Exulting to see 
their captain again at their head, they redoubled their activity, and 
committed all manner of depredations. Among other adventures, 
they robbed a nobleman on Hounslow-heath of fifteen hundred 
pounds, after a severe engagement with his servants, three of whom 
were wounded, and two had their horses shot under them. They 
next directed their course along the west country road, and having 
robbed a parson, enjoined him, under the most terrific threats, to 
preach a sermon in praise of thieving. He was forced to comply 
and the sermon being ended, they returned his money, and gave 
him four shillings to drink their health and success. 

After this adventure, they left off infesting the highways, and 
rode for London. Arrived in the capital, the captain's brother 
employed his dexterity about town in several adventures, which go 
far to show how well the brother profited by the example and in- 
structions of the captain. He first dressed himself as a country- 
man, with a pair of dirty boots on, and a whip in his hand, and 
went to Bartholomew Fair, where he wandered all the forenoon 
without meeting any prey. But as he was returning, he accosted 
a plain countryman, saying, '• Have a care, honest friend, of your 
money, for we are going into a cursed place, full of thieves, rogues, 
and pickpockets. I am almost ruined by them, and 1 am glad that 
they have not taken the teeth out of my head. Let one take ever 
so good care, they will be sure of his money ; the devil certainly 
helps them." 

The face of the countryman glowed with courage as he replied, 
" I defy all the devils to rob me of any thing I value. I have a 
round piece which I'll secure ;" and thrusting it into his mouth, he 
rushed confidently into the fair. Will was only desirous to ascertain 
the fact that he had money about him; therefore, giving his instruc- 
tions with a few sixpences and groats to a hopeful boy, he imme- 
diately run after the countryman, while Will followed at a distance. 
The boy coming up with the countryman, fell down before him 
scattering the money all around; then starting up, he raised the 
most hideous noise, crying that he was undone, that he must run 
away from his apprenticeship, that his master was a furious man, 
and that he would certainly be killed. The countryman and others 
flocked around, and endeavoured to assist the boy in gathering up 
the lost money. Then one of them said, " Have you found all ?" 
M Yes, all the silver, but that is of no avail ; there is a broad piece 
of gold which I was carrying to my master for a token sent from 


the country, and for the loss of it I shall be killed. Alas ! I am 
undone ! what will become of me ?" Will now advanced among the 
crowd, and was equally concerned for the unhappy boy; and seeing 
the countryman standing by, he gravely observed that he had seen 
him put a piece of gold into his mouth. The mob instantly seized 
him, and while one opened his mouth by force, another extracted 
the broad piece of gold; and when he attempted to speak in his 
own defence, he was kicked, pinched, and so tossed about, thai; he 
was glad to escape with his life. Meanwhile, the boy slipped away 
among the crowd, and at an appointed place met Will to surrender 
to him his booty. 

Having changed his clothes, Will went into the market, and 
mingling with the crowd, learned that the countryman was gone to 
an inn, where he had sent for his master, a knight of a large estate, 
and some other respectable persons, to attest his character. Will 
knew this person well, and hastened to the exchange, in full hopes 
of meeting him. Having reconnoitered the gentleman, and follow- 
ed him until he perceived an opportunity, he robbed him of every 
guinea he had, except one, which he considerately left him to pay 
for his dinner. The knight, repairing to the inn, laughed heartily 
when the poor countryman informed him that he had been robbed, 
while he told him that he also had, in like manner, been just 
fleeced upon the Exchange. The countryman laughed in his turn, 
and said, " Sir, let us make our escape from this roguish place;" 
adding, with a shrug of the shoulders, " Sir, they'll steal our small 
guts to make fiddle-strings of them." 

The gentleman, having recruited his purse, went out the next 
day to the Exchange. Will paid him the same compliment the se- 
cond day. The knightwas surprised how it was possible for any man 
to rob him when he was so forewarned, and so much upon his guard; 
but, looking hastily about, his eye fixed upon Will, whom he sus- 
pected to be the delinquent. He went up to him, and, taking him 
by the button, informed him that he strongly suspected that he u u 
the person who had robbed him; but, as he was a gentleman of a 
large fortune, he did not regard the money, and would freely par- 
don him, and give him all the money, upon condition that he would 
inform him by what means he had done so. " This," said he, 
" I promise upon my honour." " Your word of honour," said Will, 
" is sufficient; I know the greatness of your fortune ; 1 am the man. 
i will wait on your worship at the tavern, and there show you some 
of my art more freely than I would do to my fellow rogues." In 
their way to the inn, the gentleman informed Will, that as he 


wished to make a frolic of the matter, he would send for some other 
gentlemen to be present, assuring him, at the same time, that he 
should sustain no damage from any discovery that he might make 
to them. " 1 know you're a gentleman," said Will, ** and men of 
honour scorn to keep base company. Call as many as you please; 
I'll take their word, and 1 know that I am safe." 

When the gentlemen arrived, Will told them many things which 
greatly astonished and pleased them; and when he pulled out the 
piece of gold, and informed them how he had used Roger, the 
gentleman's tenant, he was immediately sent for to increase the 
amusement, " What would you say," cried the knight, as he 
entered, " if you saw your gold again?" " Oh:" said he, " I 
wish I could; but if my mouth can't keep it, where shall I put it? 
'Sblood ! I'd rather see the logue ; I'd make a jelly of his bones !" 
" There he is," said the knight, " and there's your broad piece." 
As Roger began to heave and to bully, his master commanded 
him to take his piece of gold, and sit down by him : upon which, 
the pacified Roger, seeing how things went, drank to his new 

One of the gentlemen pulling out a curious watch, said, he 
wondered how it was possible to take a watch out of a fob; that it 
certainly must be carelessness on the part of the owner. " No," 
said Will, " if the gentleman will take a turn in Moorfields, I'll 
wager a guinea I'll have the watch before he returns, let him take 
what care he pleases, and I shan't stir out of the room." " Done," 
cried the gentleman; and every gentleman in the room laid down 
his guinea, while Roger staked his broad piece. The gentleman 
went out, and was careful that he would not suffer man, woman, 
nor child to come near him. When the time approached that he 
should return, a boy came pretty near him, but, to avoid suspicion, 
ran past him, and at the same time looking on his back, informed 
the gentleman that it swarmed with vermin. The gentleman ob- 
serving them, and loathing the sight, said, " Good boy, take them 
off, and I'll give you a shilling." The boy did so, at the same 
time stealing his watch ; and having received his shilling, ran off". 
The gentleman returned to the tavern, wondering how he could 
possibly come by such vermin, and taking the greatest care that 
no person should approach him. 

Upon his return to the tavern, Will asked him what o'clock it 
was? He attempted to pull out his watch, but to his utter astonish- 
ment and confusion, it was gone. Upon this, Will produced it, 
and asked the gentleman if that were his ! The gentleman was 


struck dumb, casting up his hands and eyes, and, full of amaze- 
ment, addressed Will, saying, " You must have had the assistance 
of the devil." " Of a boy," said Will. " Did not a boy pick you 
clean ?" " There's the devil," said the gentleman; "and he threw 
them on, too, I suppose." " Ay, through a quill," said the other. 

All present were astonished at the ingenuity of the trick, but 
particularly plain Roger, who could not, at times, restrain his 
laughter, " Oh !" said Will, " this trick is not worth talking 
about: it is only one of those we commit to our boys. There is a 
nobleman just passing the window, with a very rich coat upon his 
back; I'll wager, as before, to steal it from him, before all his 
followers, and bring it here on my own back. The gentlemen all 
staked their guineas, and were seconded by Roger. " Come, now," 
said Will, " this matter must not be entrusted to a boy ; you will 
give me leave to go myself, nor must you restrict me to any par- 
ticular time to return." So out he ran, and followed the nobleman 
from street to street, until he saw him enter a tavern. 

The nobleman was conducted up-stairs. Will bustling in after 
him, hastened to the bar-keeper, and desired him to lend him an 
apron, as his master would be served only by his own footman. 
11 He is a very good customer, and expects the very best wine : I 
must go to the cellar and taste it for him." The apron being given, 
he went to the cellar, and returned with some of the best of each 
wine for his pretended master. He ran so quickly up and down stairs, 
and was so alert at his work, that none of the other servants could 
equal him. Meanwhile, the company up-stairs taking him for the 
servant of the house, were highly satisfied with his attendance. 
Will was also careful to give full cups to the servant who should 
have served in his place, with some money, which the other was 
very glad to receive for doing nothing. He seldom also went into 
the room without passing some merry jest to amuse the company. 
They were so highly pleased with him, that they said one to another, 
" This is a merry, witty fellow; such a man as he is iit to make a 
house; he deserves double wages." When Will saw his plan ripe 
for execution, he came into the room with some wine, and by the 
aid of his knife, made a slit in my lord's coat. Returning with a 
bottle in one hand, and his other hand full of glasses, before he 
approached his lordship, he started and stared, saying, " What 
fellows are those who have made that coat ?" with other imprecations 
against the tailor. Then some of the company rising up, saw the 
rent in my lord's coat, and cried. " My lord, the tailor has cheated 
you." Will, drawing near, said, " Such things may happen; but 


give me the coat, and I'll carry it privately under my master's 
cloak to an acquaintance of mine, who will presently make it as 
good as if it had not been torn." Borrowing a great coat of a 
gentleman present, the nobleman gave Will his coat to carry to 
the tailor, who, coming down stairs informed the landlord of the 
disaster, received his cloak, and, putting the rent coat below it, 
seized a good beaver hat off one of the cloak-pins, and hastened 
from the tavern. Arriving at the inn where the gentlemen were 
anxiously waiting his return, he went into another room dressed 
himself, and entered with the cloak and beaver on. " What!'* 
said one of them, " instead of a coat, you come with a cloak, and 
great need for it; for," he added, " there's a deal of knavery under 
it." Will then opened the cloak, and showed them the coat, say- 
ing, that he had received the cloak and beaver into the bargain ; 
and gave an account of the whole adventure. 

Meanwhile, my lord and his company had waited long in expec- 
tation of the servant, whom they supposed to have been one of the 
waiters of the house. The landlord also wondering that they were 
so long in calling for more wine, one of the servants was sent up- 
stairs to force trade. He entered the room, saying, " Call here, 
call here, gentlemen ?" " Yes," said one of them, " where is 
your fellow-servant that waited upon us ?" — " my fellow- servant!" 
exclaimed the other; " he said he was my lord's servant, and 
that his master would be served by none but himself." My lord 
replied, " How can that be? I have only one gentleman of my 
own retinue ; the rest are with my lady. He that served us came 
in with an apron, and in the character of one of the servants of 
the house : — call up the landlord !" Boniface instantly waited upon 
them, when one of the gentlemen asked him, if he kept sharpers 
in his house, to affront gentlemen and to rob them ? " Nay," re- 
plied the vintner, who was a choleric man, " do you bring sharpers 
along with you, to affront me and rob my house ? I am sure I have 
lost a new cloak and beaver ; and, for aught I know, though you 
look like gentlemen, you may be sharpers yourselves; and I ex- 
pect to be paid by you for my losses, as well as for the reckoning." 
One of them instantly drew upon him, enraged at his insolent 
language ; but the landlord ran down stairs in affright, and armed 
the whole house, entreating them not to suffer such rogues to escape. 
In the mean time, he seized a sword, the servants armed themselves 
with spits, pokers, and such other weapons as the house afforded. 
A great uproar was soon raised : and the nobleman coming first 
out to penetrate through the crowd, made a thrust at the landlord, 



but was beaten back with a fire-shovel in the hand of one of the 
waiters, and narrowly escaped being run through with a long spit 
in the hands of a cook maid. His lordship, seeing the door so 
completely guarded, shut himself up in the room, and began to 
consult with the rest of the company what was best to be done. 
Fortunately, however, the gentleman who was in the other tavern 
with Will, conjecturing that a quarrel might ensue between the 
nobleman and the vintner, who had lost his cloak and beaver, seni 
his own landlord to inform him, that the rogue was caught, and in 
safe custody. He was admitted up stairs, waited on his lordship, 
and communicated to him the whole affair. A cessation of arms 
took place. They drank to the health of the landlord, assuring 
him, that in future they would be friendly to his house ; but, in the 
mean time, they attended their peace-maker to the tavern, where 
Will was exhibiting his dexterity. The vintner went along with 
them, and, after common compliments, Will restored the coat, the 
cloak, and the beaver, and continued to amuse them during the 
remainder of the evening with the relation of his adventures. 

But to return, at length, to the captain his brother. He had, 
along with his companions, committed so many robberies upon the 
highway, that a proclamation was issued against them, offering a 
reward to those who should bring them, either dead or alive. This 
occasioned their detection, for having committed a robbery, and 
being closely pursued to Westminster ferry, the wherryman refused 
to carry any more that night. Two of them then rode off, and the 
other four gave their horses to a waterman to lead to the next inn. 
The horses foaming with sweat, the waterman began to suspect that 
they were robbers who had been keenly pursued, and communicated 
his suspicions to the constable, who secured the horses, and went 
in search of the men. 

He was not long in seizing one of them, who confessed; and the 
constable, hastening to the inn, secured the rest, and, having 
placed a strong guard upon them, rode to Lambeth, and making 
sure of the other two, led them before a justice of the peace, who 
committed them to Newgate. 

At the next sessions, captain Dudley, his brother, and three 
other accomplices, were tried, and condemned to suffer float h. 

After sentence, Captain Dudley was brought to Newgate, where 
he conducted himself agreeably to his sad situation, lie was con- 
veyed from Newgate with six other prisoners* lie appeared pretty 
cheerful, but his brother lay all the time sick in the cart. The 
ceremonies of religion being performed, they were launched into 


another world on the 22nd of February, 1681, to answer for the 
numerous crimes of their guilty lives. 

The bodies of the captain and his brother, having been cut down, 
were put into separate coffins, to be conveyed to their disconsolate 
father, who at the sight, was so overwhelmed, that he fell dead 
upon them, and was buried at the same time and in the same grave 
with his two sons. 


This man was the son of a respectable gentleman in Launceston, 
in Cornwall, and put an apprentice to a linen-draper. After serv- 
ing his time with great approbation, his father gave him £1500 to 
commence business for himself. 

He had not been a year in business, when he married a merchant's 
daughter, and received with her £200 as a portion. Such an acces- 
sion to his wealth enabled him to extend his business, and to con- 
duct it with ease. But money cannot procure happiness. The 
affections of the young lady had been gained by a man of less for- 
tune, and, to please her father, she had given her hand where she 
could not bestow her heart; and, though married to another, she 
continued in a degree of familiarity with her former lover that 
excited her husband's jealousy, the most violent of all passions. 

In a short time, after having lived in a very unhappy manner, 
Simpson took the opportunity to sell all off, and having shut up 
shop, went away with what money he could raise, determined no 
longer to remain in Bristol. He was now possessed of about £5000, 
but his expenses were so extravagant, that this large sum was soon 
exhausted. He then went to the highway, committed a robbery, 
was apprehended, and would certainly have been hanged, had not 
some of his rich relations procured a reprieve. The difficulty of 
obtaining it may be guessed from the fact, that it arrived at Tybura 
just when the rope was about his neck. Such was his obduracy, 
that, when returning to Newgate behind one of the Sheriff's men, 
the latter asked him, what he thought of a reprieve when he was 
come to the gallows ? " No more than I thought of my dying day.' 

When he came to the prison-door, the turnkey refused to receive 
him, saying, he was sent to be executed, and that he was discharged 
of mm, and would not permit him to enter without a new warrant 


Upon which Simpson exclaimed, u What an unhappy cast-off dog 
am I, that both Tyburn and Newgate should in one day refuse to 
entertain me ! Well, I'll mend my manners for the future, and try 
whether I can't merit a reception at them both, next time I am 
brought thither." 

He immediately recommenced his operations, and one day robbed 
a gentleman of a purse full of counters, which he supposed were 
gold. He kept them in his pockets, always anxiously looking'out 
for his benefactor. About four months after, he met him upon 
Bagshot Heath, riding in a coach : " Sir," said he, " I believe 
you made a mistake the last time I had the happiness of seeing you, 
in giving these pieces. 1 have been troubled ever since, lest you 
should have wanted them at cards, and am glad of this opportunity 
to return them; only, for my care, I require you to come this 
moment out of your coach, and give me your breeches, that I may 
search them at leisure, and not trust any more to your generosity, 
lest you should mistake again." A pistol enforced his demand, 
and Simpson found a gold watch, a gold snuff-box, and ninety-eight 
guineas, with five jacobuses. 

At another time he robbed Lord Delamere of three hundred and 
fifty guineas. He was almost unequalled in his depredations ; in 
one day he robbed nineteen different people, and took above £200; 
and, in the space of six weeks, committed forty robberies in the 
county of Middlesex. He even ventured to attack the Duke of 
Berwick, and took from him articles to a very great value. 

But wickedness has a boundary, over which it cannot pass. 
Simpson attacked, two captains of the guards: a strong struggle 
ensued: his horse was shot under him, and he was wounded in both 
arms and one of his legs before he was taken. He was sent to 
Newgate, and now found that he was not refused entrance; and 
he soon also discovered, that Tyburn was equally ready to receive 
him. His execution took place on the 8th September, 1686. 




This man was a native of North Wales, and he obtained the title 
of The Golden Farmer from his custom of paying any considers s>le 


sum in gold. He was born in the year 1626. At an early period 
of life he removed to Sudbury, in Glocestershire, where he took a 
farm, married the daughter of a wealthy innkeeper, by whom he 
had eighteen children, and followed that industrious employment 
merely to disguise the real character of a robber, which he sustain- 
ed without suspicion for the space of forty-two years. He usually 
robbed alone. One day, meeting some stage coaches, he stopped 
one of them, full of ladies, all of whom complied with his demands, 
except a Quaker, who vowed she had no money, nor any thing 
valuable about her; upon which, fearing lest he should lose the 
booty of the other coaches, he told her, he would go and see what 
they could afford him, and return to her again. Having rifled the 
other three coaches, he was as good as his word ; and the Quaker, 
persisting in her former statement, enraged the Farmer to such a 
degree, that, seizing her by the shoulder, and employing language 
which it would be hardly proper here to set down, he so scared the 
poor Quaker, as to cause her to produce a purse of guineas, a gold 
watch, and a diamond ring. Whereupon, they parted as good 
friends as when they were first introduced to each other. 

Upon another occasion, our desperado met the Duchess of Albe- 
marle in her coach, as she was riding over Salisbury Plain ; but 
he encountered greater difficulty in this case than he had contem- 
plated. Before he could attack tjie lady, he was compelled to 
engage a postillion, the coachman, and two footmen ; but, having 
disabled them all by discharging several pistols, he approached his 
prey, whom he found more refractory than the female Quaker. 
Perceiving another person of quality's coach approaching, with a 
retinue of servants, he contented himself by pulling three diamond 
rings from her fingers by force, snatching a rich gold watch from 
her side, and venting a portion of abuse upon her obstinate lady- 

It was not very long after this exploit, that our adventurer met 
with Sir Thomas Day, a justice of the peace, living at Bristol. 
They fell into discourse together, and, riding along, the Golden 
Farmer informed his new acquaintance, that a little while before, 
he had narrowly escaped being robbed by a couple of highwaymen, 
but, luckily, his horse having better heels than theirs, he had got 
clear of them. " Truly," said Sir Thomas, " that had been very 
hard : but, nevertheless, as you would have been robbed between 
sun and sun, the county, upon suing it, would have been obliged 
to make your loss good." Thus, chatting together, and coming to 
a convenient place, the Golden Farmer shot Sir Thomas's man's 


horse under him, and, compelling him to retire to a distance, pre- 
sented a pistol to the knight's heart, and demanded his money. 
" I thought, sir, 5 ' said Sir Thomas, " that you had been an honest 
man." " Your worship is mistaken," cried the Farmer, " and if 
you had had any skill in physiogonomy, you might have perceived 
that my countenance is the very picture of necessity; so deliver 
presently, for I'm in haste." Sir Thomas, therefore, being con- 
strained to give him the money he had about him, which was about 
601. in gold and silver, the other humbly thanked his worship, and 
told him, that what he had parted with was not lost, because he had 
been robbed between sun and sun, and could therefore come upon 
the county. 

One Mr. Hart, a young gentleman of Enfield, who, it appears, 
possessed a good estate, but was not overburdened with brains, 
riding one day over Finchley Common, where the Golden Farmer 
had been for some months hunting for prey, was met by him, and 
saluted with a smart slap with the flat of his drawn hanger upon his 
shoulders : " A plague on you '." said the farmer; " how slow you 
are, to make a man wait upon you all the morning : come, deliver 
what you have, and go to the devil for orders!" The young gen- 
tleman, rather surprised at this novel greeting, began to make 
several excuses, saying, he had no money about him: but his 
incredulous antagonist took the^ liberty of searching him, and, find- 
ing about him above a hundred guineas, he bestowed upon him two 
or three farther slaps on the shoulders, telling him at the same time, 
not to give his mind to lying in future, when an honest gentleman 
required a small gratuity from him. 

Another time, this notorious robber having paid his landlord 
about SOI. for rent, the latter, going home with it, was accosted by 
his goodly tenant in disguise, who bidding him stand, said: — 
" Come, Mr. Gravity, deliver what you have in a trice!" The 
old gentleman, fetching a deep sigh, to the hazard of displacing 
several buttons from his waistcoat, told him, that he had not above 
two shillings about him, and hoped, therefore, he was more a gen- 
tleman than to take so small a matter from a poor man. " I have 
no faith," replied the Farmer; " for you seem, by your habit, to 
be a man of better circumstances than you pretend; therefore, 
open your budget, or I shall fall foul of you." " Dear sir," cried 
the landlord, l< you can't be so barbarous to an old man ? What! 
have you no religion, pity, or compassion in you? Have you no 
conscience ? Have you norespect for your body or soul ?" " Don't 
talk of age or barbarity to me," said the tenant, M for I show neither 


pity or compassion to any body. Talk of conscience to me! I 
have no more of that dull commodity than you have; therefore, 
deliver every thing you have about you, before this pistol makes 
you repent your obstinacy." The landlord being thus threatened, 
delivered his money, without receiving a receipt for it, although he 
had given one to the Farmer. 

An old grazier at Putney Heath was the next victim to the avari- 
cious farmer. Having accosted him on the road, he informed him, 
that there were some suspicious persons behind them, whom he 
suspected to be highwaymen ; and, if that should be the case, he 
begged that he would conceal ten guineas for him, which would be 
safer with him, from the meanness of his apparel. He accepted 
the charge, and said, that as he himself had fifty guineas bound 
in the lappet of his shirt, he would deposit them along with his 
own. In a short time, the Farmer said : — " It does not appear that 
any person will run the risk of his neck by robbing you to-day ; it 
will, therefore, be as well that I do so myself." Without any far- 
ther preamble, therefore, he demanded of him, instead of deliver- 
ing up his purse, to cut off the lappet of his shirt, but, declining 
to comply with his request, the Farmer put himself to the trouble 
of lightening the fore-garment of the grazier. 

Squire Broughton, a gentleman of the Middle Temple, was the 
succeeding prey of the Golden Farmer. Happening to meet at an 
inn upon the road, the Farmer pretended to be on his way to the 
capital, concerning an offence that a neighbouring farmer had com- 
mitted against him, by allowing his cattle to break into his grounds. 
Meanwhile, he requested that Squire Broughton would recommend 
him to an expert and faithful agent to conduct his cause. Like 
every other lawyer, Broughton was desirous to have him for a 
client, and proceeded to explain the nature of his cause. Having 
spent the night at the inn, they proceeded next morning on their 
journey, when the Farmer addressed the counsellor, saying, 
" Pray, sir, what is meant by trover and conversion in the law of 
England ?" He replied, that it signified, in our common law, an 
action which one man has against another, who, having found any 
of his goods, refuses to deliver them up on demand, and perhaps 
converts them to his own use. 

The Golden Farmer, being now at a place convenient for his 
purpose, " Very well, then, sir," said he, " should I find any 
money about you, and convert it to my use, it is only actionable, I 
find." " That is a robbery," said the barrister, " which requires 
no less a satisfaction than a man's life." " A robbery !" replied 


the Golden Farmer; " why, then, I must commit one in my 
time :" and presenting his pistol, he instantly demanded his money 
or his life. Surprised at his client's rough behaviour, the lawyer 
began to remonstrate in strong terms upon the impropriety of his 
conduct, urging, that it was both contrary to law and to conscience. 
His eloquent pleading, however, made no impression upon the 
mind of the Farmer, who, putting a pistol to his breast, compelled 
the lawyer to deliver his money, amounting to 40/. some large pieces" 
of gold, and a gold watch. 

One day, accosting a tinker upon the road, whom he knew to 
have 71. or 8/. upon him, he said, " Well, brother tinker, you 
seem to be very decent, for your life is a continual pilgrimage, and, 
in humility, you go almost bare-footed, making necessity a virtue." 
" Ay, master," replied the tinker, necessity compels when the 
devil drives, and, had you no more than I, you would do the same." 
" That might be," replied the Farmer, " and I suppose you march 
all over England." " Yes," said the tinker," I go over a great deal 
of ground, but not so much as you ride." " Be this as it will, 1 
suppose your conversation is unblameable, because you are conti- 
nually mending." " I wish," replied the tinker, " that as much 
could be said in commendation of your character." The Farmer 
replied, tnat he was not like him, who would rather steal than beg, 
in defiance of whips and imprisonment. Determined to have the 
last word of the Farmer, the tinker rejoined, " I would have you 
to know, that I take a great deal of pains for a livelihood." The 
Farmer, equally loquacious, replied, " I know that you are such 
an enemy to idleness, that, rather than want work, you will make 
three holes in mending one." " That may be," said the honest 
tinker, *' but I begin to wish that there were a greater distance be- 
tween us, as I do neither love your conversation nor appearance." 
" I am equally ready to say the same of you ; for, though you are 
entertained in every place, yet you are seldom permitted to enter 
the door of any dwelling." The tinker repeated his strong suspi- 
•ions of the Farmer. " Nor shall it be without cause !" exclaimed 
he ; " therefore, open your wallet, and deliver the money that is 
there." Here their dialogue being about to close, the tinker en- 
treated, that he would not rob him, as he was above a hundred miles 
from home ; but the Golden Farmer, being indifferent to all the 
consequences of the loss of the other's property, seized both his 
wallet and his money, and left the poor tinker to renew his journey 
and his toils. 

This famous highwayman had only a few more acts of violence to 


perform. His actions and character being now universally known, 
many a hue-and-cry was sent after him, and conspired to his over- 
throw. He was seized and imprisoned, tried and condemned. He 
spent his life in prison in the same merry way in which his former 
life had been passed, and a violent death terminated his wicked 
course, on the 20th December, 1689. 


The advancement of the arts and sciences is not more rapid than 
the progress oi folly and vice. In the following memoir it will be 
demonstrated, that the best education may be perverted by vicious 

William Nevison was born at Pomfret, in Yorkshire, in 1639, 
and his parents, being in good circumstances, conferred upon him 
a decent education. He remained at school until he was about 
thirteen years of age. During that period, his expanding talents 
promised a luxuriant harvest; but the general bent of his future 
character, and the ruling motive of all his actions were exhibited 
at that period. He commenced his depredations by stealing a sil- 
ver spoon from his own father. The too indulgent parent, instead 
of chastising him for the crime, transferred the unpleasant work to 
the schoolmaster. The father who resigns authority over his own 
children may expect either to lose them altogether, or to have his 
heart grieved and his family dishonoured by their conduct. The 
schoolmaster having punished young Nevison for his theft, he spent 
a sleepless night in meditating revenge. He knew that the peda- 
gogue had a favourite horse, which grazed in an adjacent paddock. 
William rose early in the morning, moved quietly into his father's 
closet, stole his keys, and supplied himself with cash to the amount 
of 101. ; then, taking a saddle and bridle from his father's stable, 
he hastened to the paddock in which the schoolmaster's horse was 
accustomed to feed ; and, having saddled and bridled the animal, 
with all haste rode towards London. About a mile or two from the 
capital, he cut the throat of the poor horse, for fear of detection. 
Arrived in London, he changed his name and clothes, and then 
hired himself to a brewer. Although circumstances compelled him 
to be for a while industrious, in order to obtain the necessaries of 
life, his mind ^as always upon the stretch to invent some more 


expeditious mode of acquiring money than the slow return of an- 
nual pay ; accordingly, he often ineffectually, attempted to roo 
his master. One evening, however, the clerk happening to use his 
bottle too freely, Nevison followed him into the counting-house, 
and, while he was enjoying a recruiting nap, stole the keys of the 
desks, and relieved them of their burden, to the amount of about 
2001. Without waiting to discover whether the clerk or the servant 
would be blamed for the deficiency of the cash, he sailed for Holland. 

But change of climate had no effect in changing his nature. 
Through his instigation, the daughter of a respectable citizen 
robbed her father of a large sum of money, and a quantity of 
jewels, and eloped with the Englishman. They were pursued, 
taken, and committed to prison. Thus detected, Nevison would 
certainly have finished a short but villainous career in a foreigu 
land, had he not fortunately effected his escape. 

With no small difficulty he arrived in Flanders, and enlisted into 
a regiment of English volunteers, under the command of the Duke 
of York. In that station he behaved with considerable reputation, 
and even acquired some money ; but his restless temper and dis- 
position to acquire riches, by whatever means, did not permit him 
to remain in a situation of industry and sobriety. He deserted, 
went over to England, with his money purchased a horse, together 
with all other necessaries, and commenced his depredations in a 
systematic form. His success was uncommon, and he every day 
found means to replenish his coffers, and to nourish his extrava- 
gance. Nor would he unite his fortune with any one, who, from 
selfish motives, might feel disposed to participate in his lucrative 

One day Nevison, who went otherwise by the name of Johnson, 
travelling on the road, and scouring about in search of a prize, 
met two countrymen, who, coming up towards him, informe.d him, 
that it was very dangerous travelling forward, for that the way was 
set, and they had been robbed by three highwaymen, about half a 
mile off; and if he had any charge of money about him, it were 
his safest course to turn back. Nevison, asking them what they 
lost, they told him 101. ; upon which he replied, " Turn back with 
me, and shew me the way they took, and my lite to ■ farthing, I'll 
make them return you your money again." They rode along with 
him till they came in sight of the highwaymen, when Nevison, 
ordering the countrymen to stay behind him at some distance, rode 
up, and spoke to the foremost of them, saying, " Sir, byyourjjarb 
and the colour of your horse, you should be one of those I have been 


looking after ; and if so, I must tell you, that you have borrowed of 
two friends of mine 401., which they desire me to demand of you, 
and which, before we part, you must restore." " How !" cried 
the highwayman, " forty pounds! What! is the fellow mad?" 
" So mad," replied Nevison, " that your life shall answer me, 
if you do not give me better satisfaction." Upon this, he drew his 
pistol, and suddenly clapped it to the other's breast, who finding 
that Nevison had also his reign, and that he could not get his sword 
or pistols, yielded, telling him, his life was at his mercy. " No," 
said Nevison, " it is not that I seek, but the money you robbed 
these two men of, who are riding up to me, which you must refund.'' 

The thief was forced to consent, and readily to deliver such part 
ashe had, saying, his companions were in possession of the rest; 
so that Nevison, having made him dismount, and taking away his 
pistols, which he gave to the countryman, ordered them to secure 
him, and hold his own, whilst he took the thief's horse, and pur- 
sued the other two, whom he soon overtook ; for they, thinking 
him their companion, stopped as soon as they saw him; so that he 
came up to them in the midst of a common. " How now, Jack," 
said one of them, " what made you engage with yon fellow ?" 
" No, gentlemen," replied Nevison, " you are mistaken in your 
man : yon fellow, as you are pleased to term him, is a prisoner in the 
custody of my friends and hath sent me to you for the ransom of his 
life, amounting to no less than the prize of the day, which if you pre- 
sently surrender, you may go about your business ; if not, I must 
have a little dispute with you at sword and pistol !" At which, one 
of them fired at him, but, missing his aim, received Nevison's 
bullet in his right shoulder; and being thereby disabled, Nevison 
was about to discharge at the other, when he called for quarter, 
and came to a parley, which in short, was made up, with Nevison's 
promise to send their friend, and their delivering him all the ready 
money they had, amounting to lbOl. Having obtained his booty, 
he rode back to the two countrymen, and released their prisoner, 
giving them their whole 40/., with a caution, for the future, to 
look better after it, and not like cowards, as they were, to surren- 
der on such easy terms again. 

In all his exploits, Nevison was tender of the fair sex, and boun- 
tiful to the poor. He was also a true loyalist, and never levied any 
contributions upon the Royalists. One day, fortunately encoun- 
tering a rich usurer, he stopped his coach, and demanded that he 
would deliver the money which he had extorted from poor widows 
and orphans. The pistol presented to his breast, and the reproaches 


of the highwayman, filled his guilty mind wi'Ji inexpressible terror, 
and he began to expostulate for his life. " That shall be granted," 
replied Nevison, " upon condition of your surrendering your gold." 
The other reluctantly drew out sixty broad pieces of gold; but 
this sum not being adequate to the necessities of Nevison, he 
constrained the usurer to mount upon the postilion's horse, and 
allowed the coach with the three ladies in it to proceed. The poor 
Jew, now thinking the hour was verily nigh at hand when he would* 
be bereft of life and separated from his treasures, experienced all 
the violent emotions of terror, chagrin, and despair. Nevison 
compelled him to draw a note upon sight for 500J. upon a scrivener 
in London. He then permitted him to ride after his friends to 
acquaint them with his misfortunes, while he himself rode all night, 
that he might have the money drawn before advice could be for- 
warded to stop the payment. 

After several adventures of a similar nature, Nevison one day 
robbed a rich grazier of 450/ and then proposed to himself to retire 
with the spoil. Accordingly, he returned home, and, like the pro- 
digal son, was joyfully received by his father, who, not having 
heard of him during seven or eight years, supposed that he had 
been dead. He remained with his father until the day of the old 
man's death, living as soberly and honestly as if no act of violence 
had ever sullied his reputation. Upon the death of his father, how- 
ever, he returned to his former courses, and his name became a ter- 
ror to eve ry traveller upon the road. To such an extent did he carry 
his plans, that the carriers and drovers who frequented the road wil- 
lingly agreed to leave certain sums at such places as he appointed, 
to prevent their being stripped of their all. 

Continuing his wicked course, he was at last apprehended, 
thrown into Leicester gaol, put in irons, and strictly guarded : but, 
in spite of all the precautions of the county, he effected his escape. 
One day, two or three of his trusty friends visited him, one of 
whom, being a physician, gave out that he was infected with the 
plague, and that, unless he was removed to a larger room, where 
he might enjoy the free air, he would not only himself perish, but 
communicate the infection to all the inhabitants of the goal. He 
was instantly removed, and the gaoler's wife would not allow her 
husband to go farther than the door of his room, for fear of the in- 
fection, which afforded Nevison and his friends time to perfect 
their scheme. The physician came twice or thrice every day to see 
nim, and continued to declare his case hopeless At last a painter 
was brought in who painted his body all over with spots, similar 

William nevison. « 

to those that appear upon a person infected with the pestilence. 
In a few days after, he received a sleeping draught, and was de- 
clared to be dead. The inquest who sat upon his body were afraid 
to approach in order to make minute inspection, and thus a verdict 
was returned that he had died of the plague. His friends now de- 
manded his body, and he was carried out of prison in a coffin. 

This insertion into a coffin only rendered him more callous and 
daring in vice. He, with redoubled vigour, renewed his depreda- 
tions, and, meeting his carriers and drovers, informed them, that 
it was necessary to increase their rents, in order to refund his ex- 
penses while in gaol and his loss of time. It was at first supposed, 
that it was his ghost, who carried on the same pranks that he had 
done in his life-time. The truth of this, however, came to be sus- 
pected, and a reward of 201. was offered to any person who would 
restore him to his former domicile. 

Resolved to visit the capital, he upon his journey met a company 
of canting beggars, pilgrims, and idle vagabonds. Continuing in 
their company for some time, and observing the merry life that 
they pursued, he took an opportunity to propose himself as a can- 
didate for admission into their honourable fraternity. Their leader 
applauded his resolution, and addressed him in these words : — " Do 
not we come into the world beggars, without a rag upon us? And 
do we not all go out of the world like beggars, saving only an old 
sheet over us? Shall we, then, be ashamed to walk up and down 
the world, like beggars, with old blankets pinned about us ? No ! 
no! that would be a shame to us, indeed. Have we not the whole 
kingdom to walk in at our pleasure ? Are we afraid of the approach 
of quarter day ? Do we walk in fear of sheriffs, bailiffs, and catch- 
poles? Who ever knew an arrant beggar arrested for debt? Is 
not our meat dressed in every man's kitchen ? Does not every 
man's cellar afford us beer and the best men's purses keep a penny 
for us to spend?" Having, by these words, as he thought, fully 
fixed him in love with begging, he then acquainted the company 
with Nevison's desire, in consequence of which they were all very 
joyful, being as glad to add one to their society, as a Mussulman 
to obtain a proselyte. The first question they asked him was, if he 
had any " loure" in his " bungV Nevison stared at them, not 
knowing what they meant; till at last, one informed him it was 
money in his purse. He told them he had but eighteen-pence, 
which he gave them freely. This, by a general vote, was con- 
demned to be spent in a booze for his initiation. They then com- 
manded him to kneel down, which being done, one of the chief 


(if them took a " gage of booze,*' which is a quart of drink, and 
poured the same on his head, saying, " I do by virtue of the sove- 
reign liquor, install thee in the Roage, and make thee a free deni- 
zen of our ragged regiment. So that henceforth it shall be lawful 
for thee to cant only observing these rules — First, that thou art 
not to wander up and down all countries, but to keep to that 
quarter that is allotted thee ; and, secondly, thou art to give wav 
to any of us that have borne all the offices of the wallet before ; * 
and, upon holdding up a finger, to avoid any town or country vil- 
lage, where thou seest we are foraging for victuals for our army that 
march along with us. Observing these two rules, we take thee 
into our protection, and adopt thee a brother of our numerous 

The leader having ended his oration, Nevison rose up, and was 
congratulated by all the company's hanging about him, like so 
many dogs about a bear, and making such a hideous noise, that 
the chief, commanding silence, addressed him as follows: — " Now 
that thou art entered into our fraternity, thou must not scruple to 
act any villanies, whether it be to cut a purse, steal a cloak-bag, 
or portmanteau, convey all manner of things, whether a chicken, 
sucking-pig, duck, goose, or hen, or to steal a shirt from the 
hedge ; for he that will be a " quier cove," (a professed rogue,) 
must observe these rules. And because thou arta novice in begging, 
and understandest not the mysteries of the canting language, thou 
shalt have a wife to be thy companion, by whom thou mayest re- 
ceive instructions." And thereupon, he singled out a girl of about 
seventeen years of age, which tickled his fancy very much ; but 
he must presently be married to her after the fashion of their 
" patrico," who, amongst the beggars of this period was their 
priest. Whereupon the ceremony was performed after this manner: — 

They took a hen, and, having cut off the head of it, laid the 
dead body on the ground, placing Nevison on one side, and his 
intended on the other; this being done, the priest, standing by, 
with a loud voice bade them live together till death did them part; 
then shaking hands, and kissing each other, the ceremony of the 
wedding was over, and the whole group appeared intoxicated with 
joy. Night approaching, and all their money being spent, they 
betook themselves to a barn not far off, where they broached a hogs- 
head, and went to sleep. 

Nevison, having met with this odd piece of diversion in his jour- 
ney, slipped out of the barn when all was asleep, took a horse, and 
posted directly away. But, coming to London he found there 


was too much noise about him to permit him to tarry there: ne 
therefore returned into the country, and fell to his old pranks aga\n. 
Several who had been formerly robbed by him, happening to meet 
him, imagined that his ghost walked abroad, having heard the re- 
port of his pestilential death in Leicester gaol. In short, his 
crimes became so notorious, that a reward was offered to any that 
would apprehend him: this made many waylay him, especially 
two brothers, named Fletcher, one of whom Nevison shot dead ; 
but, going into a little village about thirteen miles from York, he 
was taken by Captain Hardcastle, and sent to York gaol, where, 
on the 15th March, 1684, he was tried, condemned, and executed, 
aged forty-five. 


This gentleman was a native of Norfolk county, and the son of 
an eminent surgeon. After the preparatory steps of education, 
William went to the University of Cambridge, and was tutor to 
Lord Townsend. He was during that time made Bachelor of Arts, 
and continued to pursue his studies until deprived of his father, by 

The loss of a prudent father to a young man, forms a remarkable 
era in his life. If he is left with an ample fortune, he has then 
the means of gratifying his wishes, whether in the field of bene- 
volence or in that of dissipation : and though left with no fortune, 
yet he is then at full liberty to follow his ruling inclination. Upon 
the intelligence of his father's death, William went to London and 
began to practise medicine. His first patient was his own uncle, 
who, being dangerously affected with an imposthume, was cured 
by nim in the following manner : — 

When he entered his uncle's bedchamber, his first care was to 
examine the state of the old gentleman's stomach: for this purpose 
he ranged about the room, overturning every plate and dish, to 
discover what had been given him to eat. He at last discovered an 
old saddle, which he thought would answer for the intended experi- 
ment. Upon seeing this he cried out, " Uncle, your case is very 
desperate !" — " Not so bad, I hope," said the uncle, " as to make 
me past remedy." — " Heaven knows that," cried Cady; " but a 
surfeit is a terrible thing, and I perceive that you have got a violent 


erne." — " A suifeit!" said the old gentleman: " you mistake, 
nephew; it is an imposthume that 1 am affected with." — " The 
deuce it is !" replied Cady ; " why, I could have sworn it had been 
a surfeit, for I perceive you have ate a whole horse, and left us only 
the saddle ; at this he held up the saddle ; and the old gentleman 
fell into such a fit of laughter as instantly broke his imposthume, 
so that he became quite well in less than a fortnight. 

This is not the only instance of a disease of this nature be'lng 
cured by a fit of laughter ; and it is certainly an agreeable mode of 
being relieved of a painful and dangerous malady. 

For this speedy and unexpected cure, his uncle gave him fifty 
guineas, which supplied his extravagances for one month, but his 
purse soon becoming empty, he took his leave of the healing art, 
in which he had been so successful, and commenced robber. His 
first adventure was with a captain of the guards and another gentle- 
man, of whom he enquired the way to Staines, as he was a stranger. 
They informed him that they were going to that place, and that 
tney would be glad of his company. When he arrived at a con- 
venient place, Cady shot the gentleman through the head, and, 
turning to the officer, told him that " if he did not deliver, he should 
share the same fate." The other replied that as he was a captain 
of the guards, Cady must fight if he expected to get anything from 
him. " If you are a soldier," cried Cady, " you ought to obey the 
word of command, otherwise you know your sentence: I have 
nothing to do but to tie you neck and heel." " You are an un- 
conscionable rogue," said the captain, " to demand money of me 
who never owed you any." " Sir," replied Cady, " there is not 
a man that travels the road but owes me money, if he has any 
about him: therefore, as you are one of my debtors, if you do not 
pay me instantly, your blood shall satisfy my demand." The 
captain exchanged several shots with Cady ; but his horse being 
killed under him, he surrendered his watch, a diamond ring, and 
a purse of twenty guineas. William, having collected all he could, 
tied the captain neck and heel, nailed the skirts of his coat to a 
tree, and rode off in search of more booty. 

His next encounter was with Viscount Dundee, who commanded 
the forces of James II. and fell in the battle of Killicrankie. 
Dundee was mounted upon horseback, attended by two servants. 
Cady rode up to them at full speed, and enquired if they had not 
seen a man ride past with more than ordinary haste, " Yes," he 
was presently answered. Cady replied, " the villain has robbed 
me of twenty pounds that 1 was going to pay my landlord, and I 


i.111 ruined !" The man who had ridden by was a confederate, and 
had done so by express concert. His lordship was moved with 
compassion, and ordered the two footmen to pursue the robber. 
When the servants seemed to have got to a sufficient distance, Cady 
turned upon his lordship, and robbed him of a gold watch, a gold 
snuff-box, and fifty guineas. He then shot the Viscount's horse, 
and rode after the footmen, whom he found about a mile off with 
the supposed robber as their prisoner. These men were surprised 
when Cady desired them to let him go, and laughed at them for what 
they had done. They, however, refusing to part with their prey, 
a scuffle ensued, and one of the footmen being slain; the other lied, 
and found that his master had been dismounted and robbed. 

Dundee complained of this injury at Court, and a reward of two 
hundred pounds was offered to any person who should apprehend 
either Cady or his companion, who were both minutely described. 
To evade the diligent search which he was certain this proclamation 
would occasion, he went over to Flanders. As he had received a 
liberal education, he entered himself of the English seminary of 
Douay, and, joining the fraternity of Benedictine Friars, soon 
acquired an extraordinary character for learning and piety. The 
natural result was, that many penitents resorted to him for confes- 
sion. The rigid sanctity and ecclesiastical duties of Cady were, 
however soon found rather troublesome companions, and he resolved 
to return to England, preferring his rambles upon the highway to 
the devotions of the convent. But as money was necessary for his 
voyage, his invention was again set in motion. 

To effect his purpose, he feigned himself sick, and, being con- 
fined to his bed, was visited by many of those who had formerly 
employed him as their father-confessor. He particularly fixed his 
attention upon two young women, who generally came together, 
and were both very rich and very handsome. He had previously 
procured a brace of pistols. When the ladies next came to him, 
and had made their confession, he desired them presently to attend 
to him. He briefly informed them that he was greatly in want of 
money, and that if they did not instantly supply his wants, he 
would deprive them of their lives, holding at the same time a pistol 
to their breasts. He then proceeded to rifle their pockets, where 
he found fifty pistoles. In addition to this, he compelled the ni to 
make an offering of two diamond rings from their fingers; men 
binding them both together, he informed the father of the convent 
that he was going to walk a little in the fields, and would soon return. 


It is needless to say that he returned no more to his religious haoita 
tion, but renewed his former mode of life. 

Scarcely was he arrived in England, when he meta hop-merchant, 
accompanied by his wife, upon Blackheath, and commanded tnein 
to stand and deliver. The merchant made a stout resistance, fixing 
two pistols, but without effect; so that he was left to the mercy 01 
the robber, v/ho killed his horse, and, examining their pockets, 
found twenty-eight pounds upon the merchant, and half-a-crBwn 
upon his wife. 

Cady then addressed her thus : " Is this your way of travelling ? 
What ! carry but half-a-crown in your pocket, when you are to 
meet a gentleman-collector on the highway? I'll assure you, Madam, 
I shall be even with you, therefore off with that ring from your 
linger." She begged him to spare her marriage-ring, as she would 
not lose it for double the value, having kept and worn it these twenty 
years. " You whining old woman," quoth William, " marriage 
is nothing to me ; — am 1 to be more favourable to you than any 
other woman, I'll warrant? Give me the ring in a moment, without 
any more cant, or I shall make bold to cut off your linger for 
dispatch, as I have served several of your sex before." The good 
woman, seeing all her entreaties vain, hastily pulled the ring off 
her finger, and thrust it into her mouth. Cady then stamped, raged, 
and swore, that he would be even with her ; and instantly shooting 
her through the head, went away perfectly unmoved, while the 
husband, being tied to a tree, was a spectator of this horrid 

Cady rode instantly to London, but fearing that even that great 
city could not conceal the author of a crime so unparalleled, he 
left the metropolis, and went to Scotland. Either his inclinations 
did not lead him, or he deemed that country too poor to afford him 
sufficient booty, he therefore soon returned again to England. On 
his road to the capital, between Ferrybridge and Doncaster, he 
met with Dr. Morton, a prebendary of Durham, well mounted; 
but whether meditating upon the amount of his tithes, or the next 
Sabbath's sermon, is uncertain. Cady instantly rode up to him, 
and cried, " Deliver or you are a dead man !" the doctor unaccus- 
tomed to such language, began to admonish him concerning the 
atrocity of his conduct, and the danger he was in, both with respect 
to his body and soul. Cady stared him in the face with all the 
tprocity that he could muster, and informed himthat his lemon- 
•tranccs were in vain, «aying that if he did not deliver him what 


he had, he should speedily send him out of the world. " But then," 
added Cady, " that is nothing, because all the gentlemen of your 
cloth are prepared for death. " What, you unreasonable, you 
unmannerly dog!'' continued he, in a rage, unable to discover 
the doctor's cash : " what do you mean, to meet a man in the midst 
of his journey, without bringing him any money to pay his charges?" 
For the doctor had taken care, to hide his money in a hedge, so 
that Cady, upon examining him, found his pockets completely 
empty. The ruffian, convinced that a man of his appearance could 
not travel without money, with dreadful imprecations threatened 
that if he would not inform him what he had done with it, he should 
never go home alive. The doctor insisting that he had none, the 
wretch shot him instantly through the heart. 

He next undertook a journey into Norfolk to visit his relations, 
but meeting a coach near that place, in which were three gentlemen 
and a lady, he rode up to it and addressed them in his own language. 
The gentlemen, however, were resolved to stand upon the defensive, 
and one of them fired a blunderbuss at him, which only grazed his 
arm, without doing any material injury. This put him into a 
violent passion, and, after taking a hundred and fifty pounds from 
the company, he brutally added, that t\ e gentleman who fired at 
him should not pass unpunished, anu instantly shot him through 
the heart; then, cutting the reins of the horses, he went off in 
search of new plunder, and declined visiting his relations upon 
that occasion, lest he should have been detected. 

Directing his course to London, he came up with a lady taking 
a ride for the benefit of the air, attended by a single footman, and 
fell upon her in a very rude manner, pulling a diamond ring from 
her finger, a gold watch out of her pocket, and a purse with eighty 
guineas; insulting her meanwhile with opprobrious language. 
Though the lady had commanded her footman not to interfere, yet 
the man could not help complimenting Cady with some well-merited 
appellations. The ferocious monster, without uttering a word, 
saluted him with a brace of bullets in the head, and he fell upon 
the spot. Cady was just about to prosecute his journey, when two 
gentlemen, perceiving what he had done, rode up to him with pistols 
in their hands. Cady seeing his danger, fired at them, and shots 
were exchanged with the greatest rapidity, until Cady's horse was 
shot under him; and even then he struggled with the greatest 
violence with the gentlemen, until his strength was exhausted; he 
was then apprehended, and carried to Newgate under a strong 
guard. There he remained until the assizes, without showing the 


least signs of repentan'e, 01 tokens of regret. Upon his trial he 
behaved with the most daring insolence, calling the judges "a 
huddle of alms-women," and treating the jury in the same manner. 
The crime for which he was accused was so clearly proved, that he 
was sentenced to death, and committed to the condemned hole. 
But this place of darkness and horror had no effect upon his mind. 
tie continued to roar, curse, blaspheme, and get drunk, as he 
had always done. It is probable that the hope of pardon, by the 
influence of some friends at court, tended to harden him the more ; * 
but the number and enormity of his crimes prevented the extension 
of royal mercy to such a miscreant. The day of execution being 
come, and the cart stopping as usual under St. Sepulchre's wall, 
while the bellman rang his bell, and repeated his exhortations, 
instead of being moved, he began to swear and rail, because they 
stopped him to hear an old puppy chatter nonsense. At Tyburn he 
acted in a similar manner; without either taking any notice of the 
ordinary, praying by himself, or addressing the people, he rushed 
into an eternal state to suffer the just punishment of his great and 
numerous offences. He died in the twenty-fifth year of his age, 
'n the year 1687. 


Patrick O'Brian was a native of Ireland, and his parents were 
very indigent. He came over to England, and enlisted in the 
Coldstream Gaards. He was, however, not so dexterous in the 
use of his arms as he was in the practice of all manner of vice. 
Patrick was resolved not to want money, if there was any in the 
country. He first ran into debt at all the public-houses and shops 
that would trust him; then borrowed from every person, as long 
as any one could be found to believe him. 

When fraud failed him, he had recourse to force. Doctor Clewer, 
rector of Croydon, was the first whom he attacked. This man 
had been, in his youth, tried at the Old Bailey, and burned in the 
hand, for stealing a silver cup. Alluding to this, Patrick said, 
" That he could not refuse lending a little assistanee to one of his 
old profession." The Doctor assured him, " That he had not any 
money about him; not even so much as a single farthing." 

" Then," said Patrick, " I must have your gown, sir." '• 11 


you can win it," cried the Doctor, " you shall; but let me have 
the chaoce of a game at cards; they commenced, Patrick was vic- 
torious, and obtained the black gown. 

One day, he attacked a famous posturemaster, and commanded 
him to " Stand and deliver!" the latter instantly jumped over his 
head, which led Patrick to suppose that it was the devil come to 
sport with him before his time. By this display of his agility, the 
harlequin escaped with his money, and had the good fortune never 
to afford an opportunity to O'Brian to be revenged of him for his 

Our adventurer at last commenced highwayman. For this pur- 
pose he purchased a horse and other necessaries, and began in due 
form." He one day met with the celebrated Nell Gwynne in her 
coach, and addressed her, saying : — " Madam, I am a gentleman; 
I have done a great many signal services to the fair sex, and have, 
in return, been all my life maintained by them. Now, as 1 know 
you to be a charitable woman, I make bold to ask you for a little 
money, though I never had the honour of serving you in particular. 
However, if any opportunity shall ever fall in my way, you may 
depend upon it I will not be ungrateful." Nell made him a present 
of ten guineas, and he went ofT in quest of more plunder. 

It was with O'Brian as with every other wicked man ; he was 
solicitous to lead others to the same line of conduct. In particular, 
he seduced a young man, of the name of Wilt, who was apprehend- 
ed, and suffered for his first offence. O'Brian was also apprehended, 
and executed at Gloucester ; and when he had hung the usual time, 
his body was cut down, and given to his friends ; but when carried 
home, he was observed to move, on which a surgeon was immediately 
sent for, who bled him; and other means being used, he recovered 
life. This fact was kept a secret, and it was hoped, that it would 
have had a salutary effect upon his future conduct. His friends 
were very willing to contribute towards his support, in order that 
he might live in the most retired manner, and O'Brian engaged to 
reform his life, and for some time kept his promise ; but the im- 
pressions of death, and all its tremendous consequences, soon 
wearing off his mind, he returned to his vicious courses. Aban- 
doning his friends, and purchasing a horse aud other necessaries, 
2 Brian again visited the road. 

In about a year after his execution, he met the very gentleman 
who was his former prosecutor, and attacked him in the same man- 
ner as before. The gentleman was surprised to see himself stopped 
by the very same person who had formerly robbed him, and who 


was executed for that crime. His consternation was so great, that 
he could not avoid exhibiting it, and he addressed O'Brian, saying, 
" How comes this to pass ? I thought that you had been hanged a 
twelvemonth ago?'* " So I was, and therefoie you ought to ima- 
gine that what you now see is only my ghost. However, lest you 
should be so uncivil as to hang my ghost too, 1 think it my best 
way to secure you." Upon this, he discharged a pistol through tbq 
gentleman's head, and, alighting from his horse, cut his body in 
pieces with his hanger. 

This barbarity was followed by a greater. O'Brian, accompani- 
ed by four others, attacked the house of Launcelot Wilmot, Esq. 
of Wiltshire, entered, and bound all the servants; then went up 
to the gentleman's own room, and bound him and his wife. They 
next proceeded to the daughter's chamber, whom they stabbed to 
the heart, and having returned, in the same manner butchered the 
old people, and rifled the house to the value of £2500. 

This miscreant continued his depredations two years longer, 
until one of his accomplices confessed his crimes, and informed 
upon all who were concerned. Our adventurer was seized at his 
lodgings at Little Suffolk-street, and conveyed to Salisbury, where 
he was tried and condemned. He was a second time executed, and, 
to prevent another resuscitation, was hung in chains, near the 
place where the crime was perpetrated, on the 30th of April, 1681*. 


Rum bold was the son of honest and industrious parents, who lived 
at Ipswich, in Suffolk. In his youth he was apprenticed to a brick- 
layer; but evil inclinations gaining an ascendancy over his mini, 
he quitted his employment before a third part of his time was ex • 
pired. In order to support himself after having absconded, ana 
conceiving a great desire to see London, he repaired thither, and 
soon confederated himself with a gang of robbers. In conjunction 
with these he shared in many daring exploits ; but, wishing to try 
his skill and fortune alone, he left them, and repaired to the road. 
He travelled from London with the intention of waylaying the 
Archbishop of Canterbury. Having got sight of the party between 
Rochester and Sittingbourne in Kent, he went into a field, and plac- 
ing a tablecloth on the grass, on which he placed several handfuis 
i)f gold and silver, took a box and dice out of his pocket, and com 


menced a game at hazard by himself. His Grace observing him in 
this situation, sent a servant to inquire the meaning; who upon 
coming near Rumbold, heard him swearing and rioting about his 
losses, but never paid the least attention to his questions. The 
servant returned, and informed the prelate, who alighted, and see- 
ing none but Rumbold, asked him whom he played with ? " Pray, 
pir," said Rumbold, " be silent — five hundred pounds lost in a 
jiTey !" His Grace was about to speak again ; — " Ay," continued 
Rumbold, continuing to play on, " there goes a hundred more !" 
" Pr'ythee," said the archbishop, " do tell me whom you play with." 

Rumbold replied, " With ," naming some one who perhaps 

never had existence . " And how will you send the money to him ?" 
" By his ambassadors," quoth Rumbold ; " and, considering your 
Grace as one of them extraordinary, I shall beg the favour of you 
to carry it to him." He accordingly rose, and went up to the 
carriage, and, placing in the seat about six hundred pounds, rode 
off. He proceeded on the road he knew the archbishop had to 
travel, and both, after having refreshed at Sittingbourne, again 
took the road, Rumbold preceding the bishop by a short distance. 
He waited at a convenient place, and again seated himself on the 
grass in the same manner as before, only having very little money 
on the cloth. The bishop again observed him, and now believing him 
really to be a mad gamester, walked up to him, and just as his 
Grace was going to accost him, Rumbold cried out with great seem- 
ing joy, " Six hundred pounds !" " What," said the archbishop, 
" losing again?" " No, by G — !" replied Rumbold, " won six 
hundred pounds ! Pll play this hand out, and then leave off while 
I'm well." " And of whom have you won them?" said his grace. 
" Of the same person that I left the six hundred pounds for with 
you, before dinner." " And how will you get your winnings?'' 
" Of his ambassador, to be sure," said Rumbold; so, presenting 
his pistol and drawn sword, he rode up to the carriage, and took 
from the seat his own money, and fourteen hundred pounds besides, 
with which he got clear off. 

With part of this money Rumbold bought himself an eligible 
situation ; but still he could not give up his propensity of appropri- 
ating to himself the purses of others. For many miles round Lon- 
don he had the waiters and chambermaids of the inns enlisted into 
his service ; and though, to all appearance, he was in an honest 
way of gaining a livelihood, yet he continued his nefarious courses 
to a great extent. He was not, indeed, always successful; but, 
Having once been apprised of two rich travellers being at an inn 


where one of his assistants was, he left London immediately, and 
waited on the road which he had been informed the travellers were 
to take : long, however, he might have waited, for they were too 
cunning, and pretended to be travelling to the place which they 
had last left. Determined, however, not to return without doing 
some business, he loitered about, till the Earl of Oxford, attended 
by a single footman appeared, and, being known to his lordship, 
he disguised himself by throwing his long hair over his face, and 
holding it with his teeth. In this clumsy mask he rode up, d emanded 
his lordship's purse, and threatened to shoot both the servant and 
him if they made the least resistance. Expostulations were vain, 
and he proceeded to rifle the earl, in whose coat and waistcoat he 
found nothing but dice and cards, and was much enraged, till, 
feeling the other pockets, he discovered a nest of " goldfinches," 
(guineas,) with which he was mightily pleased, and said he would 
take them home and cage them; recommending his lordship to 
return to his regiment, and attend to his duty, giving him a shilling 
as an encouragement. 

As Rumbold was riding along the road, he met a country girl 
with a milk-pail on her head, with whose beauty and symmetry of 
shape he was greatly taken. Having entered into conversation, 
Rumbold alighted, and, excusing himself for the freedom, sat 
beside her while she milked her cows. Pleased with each other's 
company, they made an assignment the same evening ; our adven- 
turer was to come to her father's house at a late hour, and, pretend- 
ing to have lost his road, solicit a night's lodging. The plan was 
accordingly followed out ; but they were disappointed in each others 
society that evening, for some one of the family kept astir all ni^ht. 
Determined, however, not to leave his fair convert, he pretended 
in the morning to be taken dangerously ill, and the good farmer 
rode off immediately for medical assistance. All the power of 
surgery, however, could not discover his ailment. The farmer 
kindly insisted upon his remaining where he was until he should 
recover, to which he, with great professions of gratitude, assented. 
Completely overpowered by such generosity, Rumbold wished to 
make some apparent return ; and, borrowing a name, told him he 
was a bachelor of property in a certain county; that he bad hitherto 
remained secure against the attacks of beauty, but that ho was now 
vanquished by the attractions of his daughter, and hoped, Ef tjhe 
girl had no objection, that a proposal of marriage would nol l>e 
unacceptable to the family. The farmer, in his turn, overcome 
by such a mark of condescension, expressed himself highly grail- 


lied by the proposal ; and, upon communicating it to the family, 
all were agreeable, and none more than the girl. The idea of 
adding gentility to the fortune which the farmer intended for his 
daughter, quite elated him, and made him extremely anxious to 
gain the favour of the suitor, Rumbold followed out his plans, 
and his endearments with the daughter were thus more frequent 
than he expected. His principal design was to sift the girl as to 
the quantity of money her father had in the house, and where it lay ; 
but he was chagrined when informed that there were only a few 
pounds ; for that, a few days before they met, her father had made 
a great purchase, which took all his ready money. Seeing, now, 
that there was no chance of gleaning the father's harvest, he re- 
solved to leave the family, and accordingly, one evening took his 
march incognito, leaving the girl a present of twenty pieces of gold, 
inclosed in a copy of verses. 

He proceeded on the road, and met with no person worthy his 
notice until the following day, when a singular occurrence happened 
to him. Passing by a small coppice between two hills, a gentleman, 
as he supposed, darted out upon him, and commanded him to stand 
and deliver. Rumbold requested him to have patience, and he 
would surrender all his property; when, putting his hand in his 
pocket, he drew a pistol, and fired at his opponent without the shot 
taking effect. "If you are for sport," cried the other, " you shall 
have it!" and instantly shot him slightly in the thigh: and at the 
same moment drawing his sword, he cut Rumbold's reins at one 
blow ; thus rendering him unable to manage his horse. Rumbold 
fired his remaining pistol, and again missed his adversary, but shot 
his horse dead. Thus dismounted, the gentleman made a thrust 
at him with his sword, which missing Rumbold, penetrated his 
horse, and brought them once more upon an equality. After hard 
fighting on both sides, our adventurer threw his adversary, bound 
him hand and foot, and proceeded to his more immediate object 
of rifling. Upon opening his coat he was amazed to discover that 
he had been fighting with a woman. Raising her up in his arms, 
he exclaimed, " Pardon me, most courageous Amazon, for thus 
rudely dealing with you : it was nothing but ignorance that caused 
this error ; for, could my dim-sighted soul have distinguished what 
you were, the great love and respect 1 bear your sex would have 
deterred me from contending with you : but 1 esteem this ignorance 
of mine as the greatest happiness, since knowledge, in this case, 
might have deprived me of the opportunity of knowing there could 
be so much valour in a woman. For your sake, I shall for ever 


retain a very high esteem for the worst of females." The Amazon 
replied, that this was neither a place nor opportunity for eloquent 
speeches, but that, if he felt no reluctance, she would conduct him 
to a more appropriate place ; to which he readily assented. They 
entered a dark wood and, following the winding of several obscure 
passages, arrived at a house upon which, apparently, the sun had 
not been accustomed to shine. A number of servants appeared, 
and bustled about their lady, whose disguise was familiar to then*; 
but they were astonished to see her return on foot, attended by a 

Being conducted to an elegant apartment, and having been re- 
freshed by whatever the house afforded, they became very familiar, 
and Rumbold pressed his companion to relate her history, which, 
with great frankness, she did in the following words : — 

" I cannot, Sir, deny your request, since we seem to have formed 
a friendship which, I hope, will turn out to our mutual advantage. 
I am the daughter of a sword-cutler : in my youth my mother would 
have taught me to handle a needle, but my martial spirit gainsaid 
all persuasions to that purpose. I never could bear to be among 
the utensils of the kitchen, but was constantly in my father's shop, 
and took wonderful delight in handling the warlike instruments ho 
made; to take a sharp and well-mounted sword in my hand, and 
brandish it, was my chief recreation. Being about twelve years 
of age, I studied by every means possible, how I might form an 
acquaintance with a fencing-master. Time brought my desires to 
an accomplishment; for such a person came into my father's shop 
to have a blade furnished, and it so happened that there was none 
to answer him but myself. Having given him the satisfaction ho 
desired, though he did not expect it from me, among other questions 
I asked him if he was not a professor of that noble science of self- 
defence, which I was pretty sure of from his postures, looks, and 
expressions. He answered in the affirmative, and I informed him 
I was glad of the opportunity, and begged him to conceal my inten- 
tion, while I requested he would instruct me in the art of fencing. 
At first, he seemed amazed at my proposal; but, perceiving I was 
resolved in good earnest, he granted my request, and appointed a 
time which he could conveniently allot to that purpose. In a short 
time I became so expert at back-sword and single rapier, that I no 
longer required his assistance, and my parents never once discover- 
ed this transaction. 

" I shall wave what exploits I did by the help of my disguise, 
and only tell you that, when I reached the age of fifteen, an inn- 


keeper married me, and carried me into the country. For two 
years we lived peaceably and comfortably together ; but at length 
the violent and imperious temper of my husband called my natural 
humour into action. Once a week we seldom missed a combat, 
which generally proved very sharp, especially on the head of the 
poor innkeeper; the gaping wounds of our discontent, were not 
easily salved, and they in a manner became incurable. I w r as not 
much inclined to love him, because he was a man of a mean and 
dastardly spirit. Being likewise stinted in cash, my life grew 
altogether comfortless, and I looked on my condition as insupport- 
able, and, as a means of mitigating my troubles, I was compelled 
to adopt the resolution of borrowing a purse occasionally. I judged 
this resolution safe enough, if I were not detected in the very act; 
for who could suspect me to be a robber, wearing abroad man's ap- 
parel, but at home a dress more suitable to my sex ? Besides, no one 
could procure better information, or had more frequent opportunities 
than myself; for, keeping an inn, who could ascertain what booty 
their guest carried with them better than their landlady ? 

" As you can vouch, Sir, I knew myself not to be destitute of 
courage; what, then, could hinder me from entering on such enter- 
prises ? Having thus resolved, I soon provided myself with the 
necessary habiliments for my scheme, carried it into immediate 
execution, and continued with great success, never having failed 
till now. Instead of riding to market, or travelling five or six 
miles about some piece of business (the usual pretences with which 
I blinded my husband,) I would, when out of sight, take the road 
to the house in which we now are, where I metamorphosed myself, 
and proceeded back again in search of prey. Not long since, my 
husband had one hundred pounds due to him about twenty miles 
from home, and appointed a certain day for receiving it. Glad 1 
was to hear of this, and instantly resolved to be revenged on him 
for all the injuries and churlish outrages he had committed against 
me ; I knew very well the way he went, and understood the time 
he intended to return. I waylaid him, and had not to wait above 
three hours, when my lord and master made his appearance, whist- 
ling with joy at his heavy purse. I soon made him change the 
tune to a more doleful ditty in lamentation of his bad fortune. I 
permitted him to pass, but soon overtook him, and keeping close 
by him for a mile or two, at length I found the coast clear, and, 
riding up and seizing his bridle, presented a pistol to his breast, 
and, in a hoarse voice, demanded his purse 9 else he was a dead man. 
My cowardly husband, seeing death before him, had nearly saved 


me the rouDle by dying without compulsion ; and so terrified did 
he appear, that he looked more like an apparition than any thing 
human. ■ Sirrah !' said I, * be expeditious ;' but a dead palsy had 
seized every part of him, so that he appeared incapable of direct- 
ing his hands to his pockets. I soon recalled his spirits by two or 
three sharp blows with the flat of my sword, which speedily awakened 
him, and, with great trembling and submission, he resignetLhis 
money. After I had dismounted him, I cut his horse's reins and 
saddle-girths, beat him most soundly, and dismissed him, saying • 
* Now, you rogue, I am even with you ; have a care, the next time 
you strike a woman, (your wife, I mean,) for none but such as dare 
not fight a man, will lift up his hand against the weaker vessel. 
Now you see what it is to provoke them. For, if once irritated, 
they are restless till they accomplish their revenge to their satisfac 
tion : I have a good mind to end your wicked courses with your life, 
inhuman varlet, but I am loth to be hanged for nothing, I mean 
for such a worthless fellow as you are. Farewell ! this money shall 
serve me to purchase wine to drink * confusion to all unmanly and 
brutal husbands!' " 

This extraordinary character was about to proceed with the nar 
ration of her exploits, when the servant announced the arrival of 
two gentlemen. Our heroine left the room, and returning with her 
friends, apologised to our adventurer for the interruption, but hoped 
he would not find the company of her acquaintances disagreeable, 
whom he soon discovered to be likewise females in disguise. The 
conversation became general, and, upon condition of Rumbold 
stopping all night with them, the Amazon promised to finish her 
adventures next day. This accorded with the wishes of Rumbold; 
and when they retired to rest, he found the same room was destined 
for them all. His curiosity was, however, overcome by his cove- 
tousness ; for, rising early next morning, and finding all his com- 
panions asleep, he rifled their pockets of a considerable quantity of 
gold, and decamped with great expedition, thus disappointing the 
reader in the continuation of a narrative almost incredible from its 

Our adventurer had frequently observed a goldsmith in Lombard 
Street, counting large bags of gold, and he became very desirous 
to have a share of the glittering hoard. He made several unsuc- 
cessful attempts; but having in his possession many rings, which 
he had procured in the way of his profession, he dressed himself 
in the habit of a countryman, attended by a servant, and going to 
the goldsmith's shop, proposed to sell one of these rings. The 


goldsmith, perceiving it to be a diamond of considerable value, and 
from the appearance of Rumbold, supposing he was ignorant of its 
real worth, after examining it, with some hesitation, estimated its 
value at ten pounds. To convince the countryman that this was 
its full value, he showed him a diamond ring very superior in qua- 
lity, which he would sell him for twenty pounds. Rumbold took 
the goldsmith's ring to compare with his own, and, fully acquainted 
with its value, informed him that he had come to sell, but that it 
was a matter of small importance to him whether he purchased or 
sold. He accordingly pulled out a purse of gold, and laid down 
the twenty pounds for the ring. The goldsmith stormed and raged, 
and cried that he had cheated him, and insisted on having back his 
ring. Rumbold, however, kept hold of his bargain, and replied, 
that the other had offered him the ring for twenty pounds ; that he 
had a witness to his bargain ; there was his money, and he hoped 
that he would give him a proper exchange for his gold. 

The goldsmith's indignation increasing at the prospect of parting 
with his ring, he carried the matter before a justice. Being plain- 
tiff he began his tale, by informing the magistrate, " that the 
countryman had taken a diamond ring from him worth a hundred 
pounds, and would give him but twenty pounds for it." " Have a 
care," replied Rumbold, " for if you charge me with taking a ring 
from you, which is, in other words, stealing, I shall vex you more 
than I have yet done." He then told the magistrate the whole 
story, and produced his servant as a witness to the bargain. The 
goldsmith now became infuriated, exclaiming, that " he believed 
the country gentleman and his servant were both impostors and 
cheats !" Rumbold replied, " that he would do well to take care 
not to make his cause worse ; that he was a gentleman of three 
hundred pounds per annum ; and that, being desirous to sell a ring 
at its just price to the goldsmith, the latter endeavoured to cheat 
him by estimating it below its value." The magistrate, accordingly, 
decided in favour of our adventurer, only appointing him to pay 
the twenty pounds in gold, without any exchange. 

The riches of Lombard Street still continuing to attract the atten- 
tion of Rumbold, he with longing eyes one day traversed that street, 
attended by a boy whom he had trained in his service. The boy 
ran into a shop where they were counting a bag of gold, seized a 
handful, then let it all fall upon the counter, and ran off. The 
servants pursued, seized the boy, and charged him with having 
some of the money. Rumbold approached to the assistance of the 
lad, insisting that the v uth had not stolen a farthing of th*it 


money, and that the goldsmith should suffer for his audacity. The 
goldsmith and Rumbold came to high words, and mutual vollies 
of imprecations were exchanged. The latter then enquired what 
sum he charged the boy with having stolen ? The goldsmith replied, 
that he did not know, but the bag originally contained a hundred 

Upon this, Rumbold insisted that he would wait until he saw the 
money counted. He tarried about half an hour, and the mfkiey 
was found complete. The goldsmith made an apology to Rumbold 
for the mistake; but the latter replied, that, as a gentleman, no 
one should put such an affront upon him with impunity. After some 
strong expressions on both sides, Rumbold took his leave, assuring 
his antagonist that he should hear from him. The goldsmith was 
arrested the day following, in an action of defamation. The bailiti 
who arrested him, being bribed by our adventurer, advised him to 
compromise the matter; urging, that the gentleman he had injured 
was a person of quality, and if he persisted in the action, it would 
expose him to severe damages. With some difficulty the matter 
was settled, by the goldsmith giving Rumbold twenty pounds in 

A goldsmith in Foster Lane next supplied the extravagances of 
Rumbold. He had often disposed of articles for that tradesman, who 
had full confidence in our hero's fidelity. One day, having observ- 
ed in his shop a very rich jewel, he acquainted the goldsmith that he 
could sell it for him. Happy at such information, he delivered it 
to Rumbold, who carried it to a clever workman to have a false one, 
exactly similar, prepared ; and then embraced an opportunity 
to leave the counterfeit with the goldsmith's wife, in his absence. 
Shortly afterwards, he met the husband in the street, who said he 
never expected to have been so used by him, and threatened to 
bring the matter under the cognizance of a judge; but Rumbold, 
fearing the result, retreated to a remote part of the city. 

Rumbold was one day reconoitering in the vicinity of Hackney, 
when his attention was directed towards a house, which he earnestly 
desired to possess. He approached the house, knocked at the door, 
and enquired if the landlord was at home. He soon appeared; 
when Rumbold politely informed him, that, having been highly 
pleased with the appearance of hifl house, he was resolved to have 
one built after the same model, and requested the favour of being 
permitted to send a tradesman to take its exact dimensions. This 
favour was readily granted ; when our adventurer went to a carpen- 
ter, and informed him that he wished him to go along with him to 


Hackney to measure a house, in order that he might have one built 
on a similar construction. They accordingly went, and found the 
gentleman at home, who kindly entertained Rumbold, while the 
carpenter took the dimensions of every part of the house. 

The carpenter being amply rewarded, was dismissed, and, by 
the aid of the draft of the house taken by him, Rumbold drew up 
a lease, with a very great penalty in case of failure to fulfill the 
agreement. Being provided with witnesses to the deed, he went 
and demanded possession. The gentleman was surprised, and 
only smiled at the absurdity of the demand. Rumbold commenced 
a law-suit for possession of the house, and his witnesses swore to 
the validity of the deed. The carpenter's evidence was also pro- 
cured, many other circumstances were mentioned to corroborate 
the fact, and a verdict was obtained in favour of Rumbold' s claim. 
But the gentleman deemed it proper to pay the penalty rather than 
lose his house. 

Rumbold, disguised in the apparel of a person of quality, one 
day waited on a scrivener, and acquainted him that he had im- 
mediate occasion for a hundred pounds, which he hoped he would 
be able to raise for him on good security. The scrivener enquired 
who were the securities, and Rumbold named two respectable cit* 
zens, whom he knew to be at that time in the country; which satisfy- 
ing the money-lender, he desired our adventurer to call next day. In 
the mean time the lender made enquiry after the stability of the se- 
curities, and found he had not been imposed upon as to their respec- 
tability. Our adventurer again waited upon the scrivener, who 
having agreed to advance the sum, Rumbold sent for two of his 
accomplices who personated his securities, and, after a little preli- 
minary caution, signed the bond under the assumed names; and, 
upon Rumbold's receiving the money, they immediately took their 
leave. The name which Rumbold assumed on this occasion was of 
further service to him ; for it happened to be that of a gentleman in 
Surrey, whom he met with, after this adventure, at an inn. Hav- 
ing learned what time the gentleman intended to remain in town, 
and the name and situation of his estate, he determined to render 
this chance meeting of service to him. He, accordingly, again 
waited on the scrivener, and informed him he had occasion for 
another hundred, but did not wish to trouble any of his friends to 
become security for such a trifle ; for that, as he possessed a good 
estate, it might be advanced upon his own bond ; and that if the 
scrivener could spare a servant to ride the length of Surrey, he 
would then learn the extent of his estate, and be enabled to remove 


any scruple whatever. A servant was accordingly sent, and 
directed to go and make enquiry after the property of the stranger 
whom Rumbold had met at the inn. Returning in a few days, 
Rumbold found the scrivener very condescending, and prodigal of 
congratulations upon the possession of so pleasant and valuable a 
property, and said he would not have scrupled though the loan had 
been for a thousand. Rumbold, finding him thus inclined, doubled 
the sum, and, after giving his own bond for two hundred pounds, 
left the scrivener to seek redress as be best could. 

Rumbold thus supported himself by exercising his ingenuity at 
the expence of others, and by this means amassed a considerable sum 
of money. He was not so much addicted to these bad habits but that 
he felt an inclination to retire from scenes so fraught with danger 
and infamy. For this purpose he placed his money in the hands of 
a private banker, with a design of living frugally and comfortably 
upon the interest. This banker unfortunately failed, and made off 
with all Rumbold's property; so that he was once more reduced to 
the necessity of having recourse to his old employment. 

The first exploit recorded of Rumbold after his re-appearance in 
public, is the following: — He stopped at a tavein, where he called 
for a flagon of beer, which was handed him in a silver cup, as was 
customary at that time. Being in a private room and alone, he 
called for the landlord to partake of his noggin, and they continued 
together for some time, until the landlord had occasion to leave him. 
Soon after, he went to the bar, and paid for his beer, while the 
waiter at the same time went for the cup ; missing which, he called 
Rumbold back, and asked him for it. " Cup!" said Rumbold, 
" I left it in the room." A careful search was made, but to no 
effect; the cup could not be found, and the landlord openly accused 
Rumbold of the theft. He willingly permitted his person to be 
searched, which proved equally unsuccessful ; but the landlord still 
persisted in maintaining that Rumbold must have it, or at all events, 
that he was chargeable with the loss, and would have the matter 
investigated by a justice, before whom he immediately went. The 
landlord stated the case, while Rumbold complained loudly of the 
injury done him by the suspicion ; and from his never endeavouring 
to run off when he was called back, and submitting so readily to 
be searched, the justice dismissed him, and fined the landlord for 
his rashness. 

During their visit to the justice, some of Rumbold's associates 
entered the same inn, where, according to arrangement, they found 
the cup fixed under the table with soft wax, and made off with it 
without the least suspicion. 


The last recorded adventure of Rumbold was one which is now 
very common in the metropolis. Having observed a countryman 
pretty flush of money, he and his accomplices followed him; but, 
from Hodge's attention to his pocket, they failed in several attempts 
to pick it. Our practitioners, however, taking a convenient oppor- 
tunity and place, one of them went before and dropped a letter, 
while another kept close by the countryman, and, upon seeing it, 
cried out" See, what is here?" But, although the countryman 
stooped to take it up, our adventurer was too nimble for him ; and 
having it in his hand, observed, " There is somewhat else here be- 
sides a letter." — " I cry halves," said the countryman. — " Well," 
said Rumbold, " you stooped, indeed, as well as I; but I have it. 
However, I will be fair with you; let us see what it is, and whether 
it is worth dividing :" and thereupon broke open the letter, in which 
was enclosed a chain or necklace of gold. " Good fortune," said 
Rumbold, " if this be real gold." — " How shall we know that ?" 
replied the countryman ; " let us see what the letter says," which 
ran as follows : — 

" Brother John, 

" I have here sent you back this necklace of gold you have sent 
me, not from any dislike I have to it, but my wife is covetous, and 
would have a bigger. This comes not to above seven pounds, and 
she would have one of ten pounds ; therefore, pray get it changed 
for one of that price, and send it by the bearer to your loving 

Jacob Thornton. 

" Nay, then we have good luck," observed the cheat. " But 1 
hope," said he to the countryman, " you will not expect a full share, 
for, you know, I found it; and, besides, if one should divide it, 
1 know not how to break it in pieces without injuring it; therefore, 
I had rather have my share in money." — " Well," said the coun- 
tryman, I will give you your share in money, provided we divide 
equally." — " That you shall," said Rumbold, and, therefore, I 
must have three pounds ten shillings, the price in all being, as 
you see, seven pounds." — " Ay," said the countryman, thinking 
to be cunning with our adventurer, " it may be worth seven pounds 
in money, fashion and all ; we must, however, not value that, but 
only the gold ; therefore I think three pounds in money are better 
than half the chain, and so much I'll give, if you'll let me have 
it." — " Well, I'm contented," said Rumbold : " but then you shall 
give me a pint of wine, over and above." To this the other agreed, 


and to a tavern they went, where the bargain was ratified. There 
Rumbold and the countryman quickly disposed of two bottles of 
wine. In the mean time, one of Rumbold's companions entered 
the inn, inquiring for a certain person who was not there. Rum- 
bold informed the stranger (as he pretended to be) that he would 
be there presently, as he had seen him in the street, and requested 
him to come in and wait for him. Upon this the stranger sat dovsn 
to wait the arrival of his friend. In a little time Rumbold proposed 
to remove into a larger apartment, where they commenced playing 
at cards, to amuse themselves until the gentleman who was expect- 
ed should arrive. 

Himself and his associate began their amusement, the country- 
man being a stranger to the game. After he had continued a spec- 
tator of the good fortune of our adventurer, who in general van- 
quished the stranger, the countryman was at last prevailed upon 
to run halves with the fortunate gamester. For a while the same 
good fortune smiled upon them, and the stranger, in a rage at his 
great losses, refused to proceed. But after a few bottles more were 
emptied, the long-expected gentleman never appearing, they re- 
newed their amusement ; and fortune deserting Rumbold and the 
countryman who seconded him, in a short time the latter found 
himself without a shilling. 

The landlord was then called to assist in drinking the money 
gaining, and, being informed how they had cheated the country- 
man, was resolved to exert his ingenuity at their expence. Mean- 
while, several associates of Rumbold, who had been respectively 
employed in similar adventures, entered the room > joined in their 
conversation, and participated in their wine. The landlord was at 
last requested to bring supper, which being done immediately, they 
commenced with great avidity, and having soon dispatched a 
shoulder of mutton and two capons; the bottle circulated briskly, 
until they all, under the influence of the rosy god, fell asleep with 
the dishes before them. 

The landlord embraced this favourable moment of silence to 
collect all the bones and remnants of the whole day's provisions, 
and divided them upon the plates which were upon the table. In 
a short time, one of them losing his balance, embraced the floor, 
and, by the noise of the fall, awoke the rest of the drowsy com- 
pany, who all renewed their attacks upon the victuals. M How 
came these bones here?" cried one of them; " I do not remember 
that 1 ate any such victuals." — " Nor I," said another; upon 
winch the landlord was called in and interrogated. " Why, surely, 


gentlemen, you have forgot yourselves," said he; " you have slept 
sound and fair indeed ! I believe you will forget the collar of 
brawn you had too, that cost me six shillings out of my pocket." 
" How, biawn !" said one. — " Ay, brawn," answered the landlord; 
" you had it, and shall pay for it : you'll remember nothing pre- 
sently. This is a fine drunken bout, indeed!" — " So it is," said 
one of the company; "surely, we have been in a dream: but it 
signifies nothing, my landlord, you must and shall be paid. Give 
us another dozen bottles, and bring us the bill, that we may pay 
the reckoning we have run up." This order was obeyed, and a bill 
presented, amounting to seven pounds, and every man was called 
upon to pay his share. The countryman shrunk back, wishing to 
escape; but one of them pulled him forward, saying, " Come, let 
us tell noses, and every man pay alike." The countryman desired 
. to be excused, and said his money was all exhausted ; they, there- 
fore, agreed that he should be exempted, 

In the morning, the countryman, in order to procure money to 
carry him home, resolved to sell the chain in his possession : he 
accordingly went to a goldsmith, but, to his additional mortifica- 
tion, was informed that, instead of gold, it was only brass gilded 
over. He acquainted the goldsmith with the whole matter, who 
went along with him to a justice to obtain a warrant for the appre- 
hension of Rumbold and his associates ; but before their arrival, 
the worthy knights of the pistol had prudently decamped with their 

Rumbold after this adventure had several narrow escapes; but, 
continuing his nefarious courses, he was at length detected, tried, 
condemned, and executed at Tyburn in the year 1689. 



Thomas Simpson, or, as he was usually called, u Old Mob," was 
born at Ramsay in Hampshire, and continued to reside there as 
his only home until he had five children and some grandchildren. 
As we are unable to find any record of his education, which ap- 
pears to have been greatly neglected, we shall relate his adventurea 
upon the road in order of time. 


One day, near Exeter, he met with Sir Bartholomew Shower 
whom he immediately required to deliver his money. Sir Bartho- 
lomew obeyed. Old Mob, however, examining his prey, told him 
that this was not sufficient to answer his present pressing necessi- 
ties : " therefore, sir," said he, " as you are my banker in general, 
you must instantly draw a bill upon some one in Exeter for a hun. 
dred and fifty pounds, and remain in the next field as security f»s 
the payment, until I have received it." The good knight wished 
to be excused, professing that he knew no one in Exeter who would 
pay such a sum on demand. But excuses were vain : Old Mob held 
a pistol to his breast until he complied, and drew upon a rich gold- 

Having received the note, he made the knight dismount, cut the 
bridle and girths of the horse, and turned him off, while he bound 
Sir Bartholomew hand and foot, and left him under a hedge. 
The goldsmith knew the handwriting, and paid the money. Old 
Mob, having received the sum, returned to the knight, saying, 
11 Sir, I am come with a habeas corpus to remove you out of your 
present captivity;" which he did, leaving him to walk home, a dis- 
tance of three miles. 

One day Old Mob quarrelled with a woman in the neighbourhood, 
and, in a rage, questioned her virtue. Her husband resented 
the affront; and commenced an action in a spiritual court against 
Old Mob, which cost him a considerable sum. Those who have 
enjoyed the experience well know that spiritual courts are not loss 
litigious and expensive than civil courts. 

Not long after, however, Mob met with the proctor who had 
been the agent in the cause, and had extracted from his purse a 
considerable sum. He instantly knew him; but, being well dis- 
guised, Mob was not recognised by the other. He demanded his 
purse: the lawyer began to be eloquent in framing excuses; but 
Mob reiterated his threatenings, and the purse appeared, laden 
with fifteen guineas. As the proctor was about to draw them from 
thence, Mob insisted upon having the fine silk purse also. The 
proctor told him that it was given him by a particular friend, and 
that he promised to keep it all his life; upon which Old Mob re- 
plied, " Suppose that you had a process against me, and were 1 to 
come to me for your fees; if I had no money, or anything of value 
but what was given to me by a friend, would you take it for pay- 
ment, if I told you that I had promised to keep it as long aa I lived." 
— " No, sir." — " Stay there; I love that people should do as they 
would be done unto. What business had you to promise a thing 


you were not sure of performing ? Am I to be accountable for 
your vows ?" The poor lawyer seeing that if he insisted upon di- 
viding the purse and the gold, his own body and soul might be se- 
parated, presented them to Old Mob. 

John Gadbury had also the misfortune to fall in with Old Mob . 
Though this man was an astrologer, yet his knowledge of the stars 
could not prevent his own misfortune. Poor John trembled when 
his money was demanded, and turned as pale as death, pretending 
that he had none. Old Mob, after bantering him, and telling him 
he could never want money, as he had the twelve constellations 
always rented to stationers, informed him that his pistol would have 
his money, in spite of all the stars in the firmament. Dreading 
that the effect of the pistol would be more violent and sudden 
than any of the disastrous stars, he surrendered a bag containing 
about nine pounds in gold and silver. 

The next adventure of Old Mob was an attack on the stage-coach 
from Bath, in which only one lady was passenger. After he had 
stopped the coachman, he approached the coach, and demanded the 
lady's money, she replied that she was a poor widow who had just 
lost her husband, and hoped that he would have compassion upon 
her. " And is the losing of your husband any argument why I 
should lose my booty ? Your tears, madam, cannot move me; for 
I remember the old proverb — ' The end of a husband is a widow's 
tears, and the end of those tears another husband." 

The disconsolate widow made strong encomiums upon the virtues 
of her departed husband, with strong asseverations that none 
should ever succeed him in her affections. Old Mob not believing 
one half she said, and, unwilling to be detained from another 
adventure, became positive with her; upon which she pulled 
out a purse with forty guineas, and presented it to him. 

Scarcely had he departed from this widow, when he met with the 
famous Lincoln's-inn-fields mountebank, Cornelius a Tilburgh, 
going to a stage at Wells. Mob demanded his money in a very 
rough tone. The poor quack pretended that he himself was a son 
of necessity. Mob told him he had more wit than to believe a 
mountebank, whose occupation was lying; " You get your money 
as easy as I get mine, and it is only fulfilling the proverb, ■ lightly 
come, lightly go ;' besides doctor, the next market-day will refund 
all; and you may excite compassion by informing them that you 
were robbed of your all in coming to exercise your benevolence 
towards them." 

The doctor could scarce refrain from laughing at the smart stric- 


tures of Mob upon his profession; but unwilling to part with the 
bird he had in hand, he began to read him a lecture on morality, 
and to remonstrate upon the iniquity of his conduct, reminding 
him, that the money he thus took, might be the ruin of whole fami- 
lies, and constrain many to employ improper means to regain what 
they had lost in this manner; " therefore," said he, " you are 
answerable for their sin." " What," replied Old Mob, " this is 
the devil reproving sin, with a witness ! Can I ruin more peop<£ 
than you, dear Mr.Theophrastus Bombasustus ! you are scrupulous- 
ly conscientious indeed, to tell me of ruining people ! I only take 
their money, you their lives ! You with impunity, I at the risk of 
my own ! You have made more blind than the small-pox, more 
deaf than the cataracts of the Nile, and destroyed more than the 
pestilence ? Unless, doctor, you have a specific against the influ- 
ence of powder and lead, it is in vain to trifle with me ; deliver 
your money." The quack still delaying, Old Mob seized a port- 
manteau from his horse, and putting it on his own, took his leave. 
Arriving at a convenient place to examine the contents, he found 
fifty- two pounds in money, and a large golden medal, besides all 
the doctor's instruments and implements of quackery : for the last, 
however, Mob could find few buyers. 

At another time, Old Mob met with the Duchess of Portsmouth, 
between Newmarket and London. He stopped the coach and 
demanded her money. Accustomed to command a monarch, she 
could not conceive how a mean-looking fellow should talk in this 
style. Upon this, she briskly demanded if he knew who she was ? 
" Yes, madam, I know you to be the greatest harlot in the kingdom, 
and maintained at the public expense ! I know that all the courtiers 
depend upon your smiles, and that even the king is your slave ! 
But what of all that? a gentleman collector upon the road is a 
greater man, and more absolute than his majesty is at court. You 
may now say, madam, that a single highwayman has exercised his 
authority where Charles II. of England has often begged a favour." 

Her grace continued to gaze at him with a lofty air, and told him 
that he was a very insolent fellow ; that she would give him nothing ; 
and that he should certainly suffer for his insolence; adding, " :^iuh 
me if you dare!" " Madam," answered Mob, u that haughty 
French spirit will do you no good here : I am an English freebooter, 
and I insist upon it, as my native right, to seize all foreign com- 
modities. Your money is indeed English, but it is forfeited, as 
being the fruit of English folly. All you have is confiscated, as 
being bestowed upon one so worthless. I am king here, madam ! 


I nave use A' money as well as he ! The public pay for his follies, 
and so they must for mine !" Mob immediately attacked her, but 
she cried for quarter, and delivered him two hundred pounds, a very 
rich necklace which her late paramour had given her, a gold watch, 
and two diamond rings. 

Abingdon market was in general well stored with corn, and Old 
Mob being one day there, fell into conversation with a forestaller 
of grain. Being in possession of a considerable sum of money, he 
contrived a plan to have a share of the profits acquired by that 
extensive dealer. He pretended to have come from London to 
purchase corn; and desiring a sample, seemed satisfied with the 
quality, and demanded the price. Old Mob instantly made a pur- 
chase, paid the money, and sent the corn to a place where he sold 
it for his own money. Careful to ascertain the time when the corn- 
dealer was to leave town, and the road he was to take, he was 
scarcely two miles from the place when Mob approached him, put 
a pistol to his breast, demanded the money which he had lent him, 
and whatever more he had about him, as interest for the loan. The 
countryman was not a little surprised to hear such language from 
his late companion, and asked him if it was just to take away both 
goods and money. " Justice !" exclaimed Old Mob, " how have 
you the impudence to talk of justice, who rob the poor of their food, 
and rejoice at the misery of your fellow creatures, because you 
acquire your wealth upon the ruins of your nation ? Can any man 
in the world be more unjust than an engrosser of corn, who buys 
up the produce of the country, and pretends a scarcity in times of 
plenty, only to increase his own substance, and leaves behind him 
ibundance of ill-gotten wealth ? Such vermin as you are unfit to 
live upon the earth! Talk no more of justice to me; deliver up 
your money, or I shall do the world so much justice as to send you 
out of it !" The countryman hereupon found it necessary to deli- 
ver up the large sum of money which he had about him; and Old 
Mob rode home highly gratified with his exploit. 

Sir John Jefferies was the next to supply the wants of our ad- 
venturer, who first disabled two servants, and then advancing to 
the coach, demanded his lordship's money. Jefferies, by his cruel- 
ties exhibited in the western assizes, had rendered himself suffici- 
ently infamous, and supposing that his name would carry terror, 
he informed Old Mob of the quality of the person whom he had 
accosted in so rude a manner. " I am happy," said he, u in hav- 
ing an opportunity of being revenged on you, for lately putting me 
in iear ot my life. I might," added he, " deliver you over to trial 


for putting me in dread of death ; but shall compound the matter 
with the money you have in your coach. 

The judge began to expostulate with him upon the danger 10 
which he exposed both soul and body by such crimes, reminding 
him, that if he believed there was a Providence which governed 
the world, he might expect to meet with justice as the reward of 
his iniquities. " When justice has overtaken us both," said Old 
Mob, " I hope to stand as good a chance as your lordship, who* 
have written your name in indelible characters of blood, and 
deprived many thousands of their lives for no other reason than 
their appearance in defence of their just rights and liberties, it 
is enough for you to preach morality upon the bench, when no per- 
son can venture to contradict you ; but your lessons can have no 
effect upon me. I know you well enough to perceive that, they are 
only lavished upon me to save your ill-gotten wealth." Then thun- 
dering forth a volley of oaths, and presenting a pistol to his breast, 
he threatened the judge with instant death, unless he surrendered 
his cash. Perceiving that his authority was of no consequence to 
him upon the road, Jefferies delivered his money, amounting to 
fifty-six guineas. 

The only person with whom Old Mob ever acted in concert, was 
the Golden Farmer. Two of their adventures may be selected. 
Having rendered themselves conspicuous upon the highway, anu, 
by their frequent depredations, exposed themselves to the danger 
of detection, they resolved to repose themselves in the capital, and 
to employ their ingenuity, as they had now no occasion to exercise 
their strength. Their first object was to learn the manners and 
habits of the citizens, in order to impose upon them in their own 
way. Those who are acquainted with London, know that all is 
hurry and bustle ; and that if a man dresses well, and for a while 
makes regular payments, he may obtain credit to a great amount. 
Even so it was at the period in which our adventurers flourished. 
They accordingly commenced ostensibly as merchants. They took 
a large handsome house, hired several servants, and commenced 
business upon a large scale. The Golden Fanner selected that of 
a chandler, he being in some measure acquainted with that line of 
business. Old Mob took up his residence near the Tower, and 
commenced Dutch trader; for having been in that country when a 
boy, he hadjearneda little of the language, and knew the com- 
modities that were usually exported from that quarter. These two 
pas ed for near relations, of the name of Bryan, and said that they 
were nortn-country men. 


With singular activity they inquired after goods in their respective 
circles, purchased all that came in their way, either paying ready 
money, or drawing notes upon each other for one or two days, 
which were always regularly honoured. They disposed of their goods 
at the lowest prices, and thus kept a constant tide of ready money; 
and their customers being perfectly satisfied, their characters were 
completely established. 

Perceiving their plan ripe for execution, they ordered an im- 
mense quantity of goods upon a certain day, drew upon each other 
for the payment, immediately sold the goods at reduced prices to 
their usual purchasers, under the pretence that they had a large 
sum of money to make up, and the next day left town with the sum 
of 1630£. the produce of three months' business. The reader may 
easily conceive what were the feelings and chagrin of the different 
merchants, when on the day of payment, it was discovered, that 
the two extensive dealers and punctual payers had both disappeared. 

For some time Old Mob and the Golden Farmer had recourse to 
their former employment upon the highway, until new dangers 
constrained them to think of another dexterous adventure by which 
to recruit their stores. There were two wealthy jewellers, brothers, 
the one living in London, and the other in Bristol. Old Mob and 
the Golden Farmer were minutely acquainted with the history of 
both brothers. These deceitful rogues knew that the jewellers 
were weak and sickly, which would obtain easy credit to a report 
of their death. Under this conviction they formed their plau, and 
wrote the following letter to each brother, only varying the name 
and place, according to circumstances : 

"Dear Brother, March26 } 3686. 

" This comes to bring you the sorrowful news, that you have lost 
the best of brothers, and 1 the kindest of husbands, at a time when 
we were in hopes of his growing better as the spring advanced, and 
continuing with us at least one summer longer. He died this morn- 
ing about eleven o'clock, after he had kept his bed only three days. 

" I send so hastily to you, that you may be here before we prepare 
for the funeral, which was the desire of my dear husband, who 
informed me that he had made you joint-executor with me. The 
will is in my hands, and I shall defer opening it until you arrive 
here. I am too full of grief to add any more ; the messenger, who 
is a very honest man, and a neighbour of mine, will inform you 
of such particulars as are needful. From your sorrowful sister. 

" M. Seals." 


" P, S.— I employed a friend to write for me, which I desire you 
to excuse, for I was not able to do it myself, nor, indeed, to dictate 
any more." 

These letters being sealed and directed, the one of our adven- 
turers set off for London, and the other for Bristol, regulating 
matters so as to be at their journey's end at the same time. Being 
arrived, they delivered their credentials, were cordially receiv^l, 
and hospitably entertained. Many tears were shed upon the open- 
ing of letters containing such information, while secret joy arose 
in each mind, upon the anticipated accession of wealth that would 
accrue, from the death of a brother. These two brothers perhaps 
indulged common affection for each other, but self-interest rises 
superior to every other species of affection. 

The evening at the respective places was spent in relating various 
incidents of the family history, together with the narration of what 
the departed brother said in his last moments. Next morning each 
of the villains was dispatched to inform the sisters-in-law, that, as 
soon as mourning was got ready, they would hasten to perform their 
last sorrowful duties. Old Mob went to Bristol, the Golden Farmer 
to London. The first, in the evening secured jewels to the value 
of two hundred pounds. The second having taken his aim better. 
brought away jewels and other goods to a much greater amount. 

In the morning, both set out from their respective places, and 
met at a spot previously determined. Meanwhile, the brother* 
were both hastening to set out upon their journey. In the family 
hurry of both, the shops were neglected, so that the robbers were 
not discovered. The brothers happened to take up their lodgings 
at the same inn at Newbury. He from London came in first, ami 
went to bed before the other arrived. The Bristol brother, along 
with a companion who accompanied him, passed through the cham- 
ber of his relative, and slept in an adjoining room. It happened 
that their conversation disturbed the repose of the London brother, 
who recognised the voice of the dead relative whom he was going 
to inter. In a short time, the latter was under the necessity of 
passing through the room of his brother, who, by the moonlight, 
was more fully convinced that he had not been deceived in the voice. 
Upon this he cried out; the other brother was equally astonished, 
and ran back to his room overpowered with fear. They continued 
both of them sweating and trembling with dread until day-break, 
when dressing themselves in their morning apparel, they mutually 
shunned each other, until they attracted the notice of the people o 


the house. They were at la3t with difficulty brought together, and 
detected the imposition, but remained ignorant of the cause. After 
spending two days at the inn, they returned home, and the plot 
was disiovered. 

Old Mob was at last apprehended in Tothill Street, Westminster, 
presented with thirty-six indictments, of which thirty-two were 
proved, and was executed at Tyburn on the 30th of May, 1690. 


Was born of industrious and honest parents, and received an 
education suitable to their circumstances. He was bound an ap- 
prentice to a baker, served three years, then ran away from his 
master, went to London, and enlisted in the Foot Guards. While 
in the army, he served at the memorable siege of Maestricht, under 
the command of the Duke of Monmouth, the general of the English 
forces in the Low Countries. 

His natural avarice and restless disposition excited him to desert 
his colours, and, flying to Amsterdam, he began his career by 
stealing a piece of silk, but being detected in the act, was carried 
before a magistrate. The evidence against him being unquestion- 
able, he was committed to the Rasp-house, and doomed to hard 
labour, such as rasping log-wood, and other drudgeries, during 
the space of twelve months. Unaccustomed to hard labour, Jack 
fainted under the punishment, but to no purpose, as his taskmaster 
imputed it to indolence. To cure this distemper, he chained him 
to the bottom of a cistern by one foot, and several cocks at once 
beginning to pour in their streams upon him, he was obliged to 
pump for his life. The cistern was much higher than he, so that 
if the water had not been quickly discharged, he would have been 
drowned, without either relief or pity. This discipline being limited 
to the space of one hour, Jack vanquished the various floods which 
threatened to overwhelm him, and was accordingly relieved. The 
experience, however, of that hour rendered his labour sweet during 
the remainder of the year. 

Upon the expiration of that period, he took leave of a country 
where he had been so speedily detected and so severely punished, 
and returned to England to prosecute his adventures upon the 
highway. Disdaining the mean employment of a footpad, he stole 


a horse, provided himself with six good pistols and a broad sword, 
and, in the dress of a gentleman, commenced his campaign. In 
three or four robberies fortune was auspicious, and seemed to offer 
a plentiful harvest to gratify his avarice, and to nourish his extra 
vagance ; but like many before him, he soon experienced her fluc- 
tuating disposition. On the road between Gravesend and Chatham, 
Bird met with one Jose? h Pinnis, a Pilot at Dover, who had been 
to London receiving 101. or 12/. for conducting a Dutch ship uji 
the river. He had lost both his hands in an engagement, so that 
when Bird accosted him in the common language of his profession, 
the old tar replied, " You see, sir, that 1 have never a hand, so 
that I am not able to take my money out of my pocket myself. Be 
so kind, therefore, as to take the trouble of searching me." Jack 
complied with his reasonable demand, and began to examine the 
contents of the pilot's purse. Meanwhile the furious tar suddenly 
clasped his arms about Jack, and, spurring his own horse, drew 
our adventurer off his, then falling directly upon him, he kept him 
down, beating him most unmercifully with his shod stumps. During 
the scuffle, some passengers approached, and, enquiring the cause, 
Pinnis related the particulars, and requested them to supply his 
place, and give the ruffian a little more of the same oil to his bones, 
adding, that he was almost out of breath with what he had done 
already. The passengers immediately apprehended him, and carri- 
ed him before a magistrate, who committed him to Maidstone gaol, 
where he continued until the assizes, and then was tried and 

He, however, had the good fortune to obtain a pardon, and after- 
wards his liberty. The affront of being so completely buffeted by 
a man without hands, made such an impression upon Bird's mind, 
that he resolved to abandon an employment which had been so 
dangerous and so disgraceful to him. But the want of an occupa- 
tion by which to supply his necessities, again compelled him to the 

The first that he encountered was a Welsh drover. The fellow, 
being equal in strength and courage to the pilot, began to lay 
about him with a large quarter- staff. Jack, perceiving the bold- 
ness of the Welshman, lied out of the reach of his staff, and said, 
"1 have been taken in once by a villain of a tar without hands, and 
for that trick, 1 shall not venture my carcase within the roach of 
one that has hands, for fear of something worse." Meanwhile, he 
pulled out a pistol, and shot him through the head. In examining 
his pur je, he found only eighteen pence. Jack, with laconic in- 


difference observed, " This is a price worth killing a man for at 
any time, and rode off without the least remorse." 

At another time, Bird met with Poor Robin, the almanack 
maker; and, as he exacted contributions from the poor when the 
rich were not at hand, the astrologer was commanded to halt and 
surrender. As this was the first time that Robin had heard such 
language, and he had received no intelligence of the arrival of 
Bird from the stars, he stood and stared as if he had been planet- 
struck. Finding that Bird was in earnest, Robin pleaded his pov- 
erty. " That,'* said Jack, " is a common, thread-bare excuse, 
and will not save your bacon." " But," said the star-gazer, " my 
name is poor Robin ; I am the author of those almanacks that 
come out yearly in my name, and I have canonized a great many 
gentlemen of your profession • look in my calendar for their names, 
and let this be my protection." But all in vain ; Bird ransacked 
his pockets, and from thence extracted the large sum of fifteen 
shillings, took a new hat from his head, and requested him, since 
he had now given him cause, to canonize him likewise, which 
Robin engaged to do as soon as he had suffered martyrdom at 

Emboldened by success, Jack procured a good horse, and re- 
solved to perform something worthy of the honour that awaited 
him ; and fortune soon presented a favourable opportunity. The 
Earl of Dorset and his chaplain were riding along in a coach, at- 
tended by two servants. Bird advanced; " Stand and deliver!" 
was his laconic address. His lordship informed him that he was 
very little anxious about the small sum he had upon him ; " But 
then," said he, " I hop« that you will fight for it." Jack then 
pulled out a brace of pistols, and let fly a volley of imprecations. 
" Don't put yourself into any passion, my friend," said the Earl, 
u but lay down your pistols, and I will beat you fairly for all the 
money I have, against nothing." " That's an honourable chal- 
lenge, my Lord," exclaimed Jack, " provided that none of your 
servants be near us." His Lordship then commanded them to keep 
at a distance. The chaplain, however, could not endure the thought 
of the Earl fighting while he was an idle spectator, and requested 
the honour of espousing his master's cause. Matters were arrang- 
ed : the divine in a minute went to blows with Jack; but the latter, 
who once had the misfortune to be deprived of his liberty, and ex- 
posed to the danger of his neck, by an old tar without hands, was 
now determined to retrieve his lost honour; and in less than a 
quarter of an hour, he beat the chaplain in such a manner, that he 


had only breath remaining to utter the words, " I'll fight no more.' : 
Emboldened by victory, Jack said to his Lordship, " that now, if he 
pleased he would take a turn with him." " By no means," cried 
the Earl, " for if you beat my chaplain, you will beat me, he and 
1 having tried our manhood before." Then giving our hero a re- 
ward of twenty guineas, he rode off with his vanquished chaplain, 
well pleased that he had not put his own bones in jeopardy. 

Continuing his wicked courses, Bird one day, in company witK 
a woman, with whom he lived, knocked down and robbed a man 
between Drury-lane and the Strand. Bird escaped, but the wo- 
man was seized, and committed to Newgate. He visited her in 
prison, in the hope of accommodating matters with the prosecutor, 
but was seized upon suspicion of being an accomplice, and tried 
for the crime. Upon his trial he confessed the fact; the woman 
was liberated, and he suffered the just punishment of his deeds on 
the 12th of March, 1690, being at that time forty-two years of age. 


Thomas Cox was the youngest son of a gentleman of Blandford in 
Dorset, at which place he was born. His father left him a com- 
fortable patrimony, which he soon consumed in riotous living. 
Upon the decay of his fortune, he came up to London, where he 
fell in with a gang of highwaymen, and easily complied with their 
measures, in order to support himself in his dissolute course of life. 
He was three times tried for his life, before the last fatal trial, and 
had, after all these imputations, a prospect once more of making 
himself a gentleman, so indulgent was Providence to him. A 
young lady fell in love with him atWorcester, he being a very hand- 
some man ; and she went so far as to communicate her passion, aiul 
almost make him a direct offer of herself and 1500/. Cox married 
her; but, instead of settling himself in the world, and improving 
her fortune, he spent it all in less than two years, broke the poof 
young lady's heart by his ill usage, and then took to his old courses 

The robberies he committed after this were almost innumerable : 
we shall briefly mention a few, without dwelling on particulars that 
are not material. One day he met with Killigrew, who had been 
jester t© King Charles II., and ordered him to deliver. u Are 


you in earnest, friend? " said the buffoon. Tom replied, " Yes, by 
G — d am I ! for though you live by jesting, I can't." Killigrew 
found he spoke truth ; for, well as he loved jesting, he could not 
conceive that to be a jest which cost him twenty-five guineas ; for 
so much Tom took from him. 

Another time he robbed Mr. Hitchcock, an attorney of New Inn, 
of three hundred and fifty guineas, on the road between Midhurst 
and Tetworth, in the county of Sussex, giving him in return a 
lesson on the corruption of his practice, and throwing him a single 
guinea to bear his charges. Mr. Hitchcock was a little surprised 
at the highwayman's generosity, but more at his morality, imagin- 
ing the world must needs be near its end when the devil undertook 
to reform it. 

Tom Cox was as great a libertine in his sentiments as he was in 
his practice ; for he professed a belief that the summum bonum 
of a man consisted in sensual pleasures, as Epicurus is said to 
have thought formerly, whose disciple he called himself. It is a 
common thing to call persons Epicureans who fall into these 
notions : and we do not know whether, in a work of this nature, 
it may be worth while to prove that the word is falsely applied, 
since the idea is all that we are to regard. Let Epicurean signify 
what it will, they are no followers of Epicurus who are not lovers 
of virtue, and who do not place their supreme happiness in the 
most exalted pleasures of the mind, as that great philosopher 
certainly did. 

Our offender was at last apprehended for a robbery on the highway, 
committed near Chard, in Somersetshire ; but he had not been long 
confined in Illchester goal before he found an opportunity of escap- 
ing. He broke out of his ward into the keeper's apartment, who, 
as good luck would have it, had been drunk over-night, and was 
now in a profound sleep. It was a moonlight night, and Cox could 
see a silver tankard on the table in the room, which he secured, 
and then with quickness let himself out into the street, by the help 
of the keys, leaving the doors all unlocked as he passed. The 
tankard he had stolen was worth 101. ; besides which, he got into 
a stable hard by, and took a good horse, with proper furniture to 
carry him off. 

It is reported of Cox, that he more than once robbed persons 
of his own trade, and that he sometimes robbed in company. One 
time in particular, he had accomplices, and had formed a project 
for robbing a nobleman, well attended, who was travelling the 
kingdom. Tom associated himself with this nobleman on the road, 
and talked to him, as they passed along, of the adventures lie had 


met with in such an agreeable manner, as ingratiated him very much 
in his companion's esteem. They had not ridden many miles toge- 
ther, before two of Tom's companions came up, and bade them stand, 
but immediately fled upon Tom's pulling out a pistol, and making 
a seeming bluster. The nobleman attributed his delivery to the 
generosity and bravery of his new companion, putting still more 
confidence in him, and desiring his company as long as possible. 
They were to stay a whole day at the next great town, in orderVo 
take a ride round the country, and see what was to be seen, accord- 
ing to the custom which this noble friend of Tom's had practised 
all the way. In the morning, the saddle horses were got ready, 
and our two fellow travellers set out for the tour of the day, the 
person of quality refusing to take a footman with him, as usual, 
that he might the more freely converse with his new acquaintance. 

We shall not trouble our reader with what they saw on the way, 
and how much they were pleased, because that is little to our story. 
About noon they came to a convenient place, when Cox suddenly 
threw off the mask, and commanded his companion to deliver his 
money. " Why, ay," said the nobleman, " such a thing might 
be done here, for it's a devilish lonesome country : but I can fear 
no danger while you are with me, — you, whose courage I have so 
lately experienced." " Such a thing might be done ?" replied Cox : 
11 Why, in the name of Satan, 1 hope you don't think I have kept 
your company all this time to play with you at last ? If you do, 
sir, let me tell you, you are mistaken." Upon which, he pulled 
out a pistol, and presented it to his breast, swearing and cursing 
like a madman, till he had given sufficient proof that he was in 
earnest. Filled with astonishment and confusion, our nobleman 
delivered a diamond ring, a gold watch, and near a hundred guineas 
in money, staring all the while in Tom's face with much gravity. 
To prevent a sudden pursuit, Tom then dismounted his companion, 
bound him hand and foot, and killed his horse, according to the 
custom of experienced highwaymen, taking his leave with a sneer, 
and " Good bye, fellow-traveller, till I meet you again. ' 

After this, he committed two other robberies that were known. 
One of them was on a grazier, who had been at Smithfield, and 
received about 300/. for cattle, a great part of which was in silver, 
and consequently, was sufficiently bulky. When he had got the 
money, he fell to caning the poor sufferer in an unmciciful manner, 
who desired to know the reason of such usage after he had taken 
all. " Sirrah," said Tom, " 'tis for loading my horse at (his rate; 
that you may remember another time to got your money changed 


into gold before you come out of town, — for who the plague must 
be your porter 1" We may reasonably suppose the grazier chose 
rather to pay for the return of his money for the future, than carry 
so much about him. 

Tom's last robbery was on a farmer, from whom he took about 
201. It was not above a week after the fact, before the farmer had 
occasion to proceed to London about business, and saw Tom coming 
out of his lodgings in Essex-street, in the Strand, when, upon 
crying out " Stop thief!" he was immediately apprehended in St. 
Clement's Church-yard, and committed by a neighbouring magis- 
trate to Newgate, where he lived till the sessions in an extravagant 
manner, being very full of money. Receiving sentence of death 
on the farmer's deposition at Justice Hall, on Wednesday the 
3rd of June, 1691, he was hanged at Tyburn, in the twenty-sixth 
year of his age. He was so resolute to the last, that when Mr. 
Smith, the Ordinary, asked him a few moments before he was turn- 
off, whether he would join with his fellow-sufferers in prayer? 
" D— n you — no!" said he, and kicked both ordinary and execu- 
tioner out of the cart. 


The account of the life of Colonel Jack, written by himself, 
naturally excites reflections upon the blessings of education, and 
the misery and ruin of thousands of the poorer orders who have 
been unfortunately deprived of it. 

It cannot, we think, but be apparent, in the autobiography of 
Colonel Jack, that the writer, although circumstances and the want 
of education we have been lamenting, caused him to become a thief, 
was naturally disposed, and had a yearning towards virtue. A 
certain rectitude of principle, strangely at variance with his call- 
ing, remained with him constantly, causing him to abhor the worst 
parts of his trade, and at last to leave it off altogether. 

We have chosen to give the ensuing narrative almost without the 
alteration of a word; the spirit of the story must inevitably evapo- 
rate during a process of transfusion. 

" Seeing that my life has been such a chequer-work of Nature, 
and that I am able now to look back upon it from a safer distance 
than is ordinary to the fate of the clan to which I once belonged, 1 


think my history may find a place in the world, as well as that of 
some, which I see, are every day read with pleasure, though they 
have in them nothing so diverting or instructing as I believe mine 
will appear to be. 

" My origin may be as high as any body's, for aught I know; 
for my mother kept very good company: — but that part belongs to 
her story more than to mine. All I know of it is by oral tradition, 
thus : — my nurse told me my mother was a gentlewoman, that my 
father was a man of quality, and that she (my nurse) had a good 
piece of money given her to take me off his hands, and deliver him 
and my mother from the importunities that usually attend the mis- 
fortune of having a child to keep that should not be seen or heard of. 
" My father, it seems, gave my nurse something more than was 
agreed for, at my mother's request, upon her solemn promise, that 
she would use me well, and let me be put to school; and he charged 
her, that if I lived to come to any bigness, capable to understand 
the meaning of it, she should always take care to bid me remember 
that I was a gentleman ; and this, he said, was all the education 
he would desire of her for me ; for he did not doubt but that some 
time or other, the very hint would inspire me with thoughts suitable 
to my birth; and that I would certainly act like a gentleman, if I 
believed myself to be so. 

" My nurse was as honest to the engagement she had entered 
into as could be expected from one of her employment, and par- 
ticularly as honest as her circumstances would give her leave to be ; 
for she bred me up very carefully with her own son, and with 
another son of shame, like me, whom she had taken upon the 
game terms. 

" My name was John, as she told me ; but neither she nor I knew 
any thing of a sirname that belonged to me ; so that I was left to 
call myself Mr. Anything that I pleased, as fortune and better 
circumstances should give occasion. It happened that her own son, 
(for she had a little boy about one year older than I,) was called 
John too ; and about two years after, she took another son of shame, 
as I called it above, to keep as she did me, and his name was John 
too. But my nurse, who may be allowed to distinguish her own 
son a little from the rest, would have him called captain, because, 
forsooth, he was the eldest. 

" I was provoked at having this boy called captaiu, and cried, 
and told my nurse I would be called captain, for she told me I 
was a gentleman, and 1 would be a captain, that I would. The 
good woman, to keep the peace, told me, ' Ay, ay, I wa* fi uentlo 


man, and therefore I should be above a captain, for I should be a 
colonel, and that was a great deal better than a captain.' Well, 
I was hushed indeed with this for the present, but not thoroughly 
pleased, till, a little while after, 1 heard her tell her own boy, that 
1 was a gentleman, and therefore he must call me colonel ; at which 
her boy fell a-crying, and said he would be called colonel too ; so 
then 1 was satisfied that it was above a captain. So universally is 
ambition seated in the minds of men, that not a beggar-boy but has 
his share of it. Before I tell you much more of our story, it would 
be very proper to give something of our several characters, as I 
have gathered them up in my memory, as far back as I can recover 
things either of myself, or my brother Jacks; and they shall be 
brief and impartial. 

" Captain Jack, the eldest of us all by a whole year, was a squat 
big, strong-made boy, and promised to be stout when grown up to 
be a man, but not tall. He was an original rogue ; for he would 
do the foulest and most villainous things even by his own inclina- 
tion ; he had no taste or sense of being honest, no not even to his 
brother rogues, which is what other thieves made a point of honour 
of, — I mean that of being honest to one another. 

" Major Jack was a merry, facetious, pleasant boy, and had 
something of a gentleman in him. He had a true manly courage, 
feared nothing, and yet, if he had the advantage, was the most 
compassionate creature alive, and wanted nothing but honesty to 
make him an excellent man. He had learnt to write and read very 
well, as will be found in the process of this story. 

" As to myself, I passed among my comrades for a bold resolute 
boy ; but I had a different opinion of myself; and therefore shun- 
ed fighting as much as I could. I was wary and dexterous at my 
trade, and was not so often caught as my fellow-rogues ; I mean 
while I was a boy, and never after I came to be a man, no, not 
once for twenty-six years, being so old in the trade, and still un- 

" I was almost ten years old, the captain eleven, and the major 
eight, when our good old nurse died; her husband was drowned a 
little before in the Gloucester frigate, which was cast away going 
to Scotland with the Duke of York, in the reign of King Charles 
II. and the honest woman dying very poor, the parish was obliged 
to bury her. The good woman being dead, we were turned loose 
to the world, — rambling about all three together, and the people 
in Rosemary-lane and Ratcliffe knowing us pretty well, we got 
victuals easy enough ; as for lodging, we lay in the summer-time 


on bulk-heads and at shop-doors; as for bed, we knew nothing 
that belonged to it for many years after my nurse died; but in 
winter got into the ash-holes, and annealing-arches in the glass- 
houses, where we were accompanied by several youngsters like 
ourselves ; some of whom persuaded the captain to go a kidnapping 
with them, a trade at that time much followed ; the gang used to 
catch children in the evening, stop their mouths, and carry theqa 
to such houses, were they had rogues ready to receive them, who 
put them on board ships bound to Virginia, and when they arrived 
there, they were sold. This wicked gang were at last taken, and 
sent to Newgate ; and Captain Jack, among the rest, though he 
was not then much above thirteen years old, and being but a lad, 
was ordered to be three times whipped at Bridewell, the Recorder 
telling him it was done in order to keep him from the gallows. 
We did what we could to comfort him ; but he was scourged so se- 
verely, that he lay sick for a good while ; but as soon as he regained 
his liberty, he went to his old gang, and kept among them as long 
as that trade lasted, for it ceased a few years afterwards. 

" The major and I, though very young, had sensible impressions 
made on us for some time by the severe usage of the captain ; but 
it was within the year, that the major, a good conditioned easy 
body, was wheedled away by a couple of young rogues to take a 
walk with them The gentlemen were very well matched, for the 
oldest of them was not above fourteen ; the business was to go to 
Bartholomew-fair, and the end of going there was to pick pockets. 

" The major knew nothing of the trade, and therefore was to do 
nothing ; but they promised him a share with them for all that, as 
if he had been as expert as themselves ; so away they went. The 
two dexterous rogues managed it so well, that by about eight o'clock 
at night, they came back to our dusty quarters at the glass-house, 
and sitting them down in a corner, they began to share their spoil 
by the light of the glass house fire. The major lugged out the 
goods, for as fast as they made any purchase, they unloaded them- 
selves, and gave all to him, that if they had been taken, nothing 
might be found about them. It was a lucky day for them ; the 
devil certainly assisting them to find their prey, that he might 
draw in a young gamester, and encourage him to the undertaking, 
who had been made backward before by the misfortune of the cap- 

" For such a cargo to be brought home clear in one afternoon, 
or evening rather, and by only two little rogues so young, was, it 
must be confessed, extraordinary ; and the major was elevated the 


next day to a strange degree ; for he came to me very early, ari4 
called me out into a narrow lane, and showed me his little hand 
almost full of money. I was surprised at the sight, when he put it 
up again, and bringing his hand out, " Here," said he, " you 
shall have some of it," and gave me a sixpence and a shilling's 
worth of the small silver pieces. This was very welcome to me, 
who never had a shilling of money together in all my life, that I 
could call my own. I was very earnest to know how he came by 
this wealth ; he quickly told me the story ; and that he had for his 
share seven shillings and sixpence in money, a silver-thimble, 
and a silk handkerchief. 

" We went to Rag-Fair, and bought each of us a pair of shoes 
and stockings, and afterwards went to a boiling cook's in Rose- 
mary-lane, where we treated ourselves nobly ; for we had boiled 
beef, pudding, a penny-loaf, and a pint of strong beer, which 
cost us sevenpence in all. That night the major triumphed in our 
new enjoyment, and slept in the usual place, with an undisturbed 
repose. The next day the major and his comrades went abroad 
again, and were still successful, nor did any disaster attend them 
for many months ; and by frequent imitation and direction, Major 
Jack became as dexterous a pickpocket as any of them, and went 
through a long variety of fortune, too long to enter upon now, be- 
cause 1 am hastening to my own story, which at present is the 
main thing I have to set down. 

"Overcome by the persuasions of the major, I entered myself 

into his society, and went down to Billingsgate with one of them, 

which was crowded with masters of coal-ships, fishmongers, and 

oyster-women. It was the first of these people my comrade had 

his eye upon : so he gave me my orders, which were thus : * Go 

you,' said he, ' into all the ale-houses as we go along, and observe 

where any people are telling money, and when you find any, come 

and tell me.* So he stood at the door and I went into the houses, 

As the collier-masters generally sell their coals at the Gate, as the} 

(Call it, so they generally receive their money in those ale-houses, 

and it was not long before I brought him word of several. Upon 

this, he went in and made his observations, but found nothing to 

his purpose. At length, 1 brought word that there w T as a man in 

such a house, who had received a great deal of money of somebody, 

or, I believed, of several people ; and that it lay all upon the 

table in heaps, and he was very busy writing down the sums, and 

putting it up in several bags. ' Is he ?' said he ; ' I'll warrant 

him, I will have some of it ;' and in he went, walked up and down 


the house, which had several open tables and boxes in it, and lis- 
tened to hear if he could learn what the man's name was, and he 
heard somebody call him Cullum, or some such name ; then he 
watched his opportunity, and stepped up to him, and told him a 
long story, ' That there were two gentlemen at the Gun-tavern 
sent him to enquire for him, and to tell him, they desired to speak 
with him.' 

" The collier-master had got his money before him just as I had 
told him, and had two or three small payments of money, which 
he had put up in little black dirty bags, and laid by themselves; 
as it was hardly broad day, the major found means, in delivering 
his message, to lay his hand upon one of those bags, and carry it 
off perfectly undiscovered. When he had got it, he came out to 
me, who stood at the door, and pulling me by the sleeve, ' Run, 
Jack,' said he, ' for our lives ;' and away he scoured, and I after 
him, never resting, or scarce looking about me, till we got quite 
into Moorfields. But not thinking ourselves safe there, we ran on 
till we got into the fields, and finding a by-place, we sat down, and 
he pulled out the bag. ' Thou art a lucky boy, Jack,' said he, 
1 thou deservest a good share of this job, truly; for 'tis all along 
of thy lucky news.' So he poured it all out into my hat. 

" How he managed to take such a bag from any man who was 
awake and in his senses, I cannot tell. There were about seventeen 
or eighteen pounds in the bag, and he parted the money, giving 
me one-third, with which I was very well contented. As we were 
now so rich, he would not let me lie any longer about the glass- 
house, or go naked and ragged as I had done ; but obliged me to 
buy two shirts, a waistcoat, and a great coat; for a great coat was 
more proper for our business than any other. So I clothed myself, 
as he directed, and we lodged together in a little garret. 

" Soon after this, we walked out again, and then tried our fortune 
in the places by the Exchange a second time. Here we beo-an to 
act separately, and I undertook to walk by myself; and the first 
thing 1 did accurately, was a trick I played that argued some skill 
for a new beginner ; for I had never seen any business of that kind 
done before. I saw two gentlemen mighty eager in talk, and one 
pulled out a pocket-book two or three times, and then slipped it 
into his coat-pocket again, and then out it came again, and papers 
were taken out, and others put in, and then in it went again ; and 
so several times, the man being still warmly engaged with another 
man, and two or three others standing hard by them the last time 
he put his pocket-book into his pocket with his hand, when the 


book lay endway, resting upon some other book, or something else 
in his pocket, so that it did not go quite down, but one corner of 
it was seen above his pocket. Having seen the book thus pass and 
repass, I brushed smoothly, but closely, by the man, and took it 
clean away, and went directly into Moorfields, where my fellow- 
rogue was to meet me. It was not long before he came : I had no 
occasion to tell him my success ; for he had heard of the action 
among the crowd. We searched the book, and found several 
goldsmith's and other notes ; but the best of the booty was in one 
of the folds of the cover of the book ; there was a paper full of loose 
diamonds. The man, as w T e understood afterwards, was a Jew, 
and dealt in those glittering commodities. 

J 1 We agreed that Will (which was my comrade's name) should 
return to the 'Change to hear what news was stirring, and there he 
heard of a reward of one hundred pounds for returning the things. 
The next day he went to the gentleman, and told him he had got 
some scent of his book, and the person who took it, and who, he 
believed, would restore it for the sake of the reward, provided he 
was assured that he should not be punished for the fact. After many 
preliminaries, it was concluded, that Will should bring the book, 
and the things lost in it, and receive the reward, which on the third 
day he did, and faithfully paid me my share of it. 

" Not long after this, it fell out, we were strolling about in 
Smithfield on a Friday; there happened to be an old country gen- 
tleman in the market, selling some very large bullocks; it seems 
they came out of Sussex, for we heard him say, there were no such 
bullocks in the whole county of Sussex. His worship, for so they 
called him, had received the money for these bullocks at a tavern, 
the sign of which 1 have forgotten now, and having some of it in 
a bag, and the bag in his hand, he was taken with a sudden fit of 
coughing, and stood to cough, resting his hand with the bag of 
money in it upon a bulk-head of a shop, just by the cloister-gate 
in Smithfield ; that is to say, within three or four doors of it : we 
were both just behind him, when Will said to me, * Stand ready.' 
Upon this he made an artificial stumble, and fell with his head just 
against the old gentleman in the very moment when he was coughing 
ready to be strangled and quite spent for want of breath. 

" The violence of the blow beat the old gentleman quite down 
the bag of money did not immediately fly out of his hand, but I ran 
to get hold of it, and giving it a quick snatch, pulled it clean away, 
and ran like the wind down the cloister with it, till I got to our old 
rendezvous. Will in the mean time fell down with the old geatle- 


man, btU soon got up. The old knight (for such it seems he was) 
was frighted with the fall, and his breath was so stopped with his 
cough, that he could not recover himself to speak until same time, 
during which nimble Will was got up again, and walked off; nor 
could he call out ' stop thief,' or tell anybody he had lost any thing 
for a good while ; but coughing vehemently till he was almost black 
in the face, he at last brought it out, * The rogues have got away 
my bag of money.' 

" All the while the people understood nothing of the matter; and 
as for the rogues, indeed, they had time enough to get clear away, 
and in about an hour Will came to the rendezvous; there we sat 
down on the grass, and turned out the money, which proved to be 
eight guineas, and five pounds eight shillings in silver. This we 
shared upon the spot, and went to work the same day for more ; but 
whether it was that, being flushed with our success, we were not 
so vigilant, or that no other opportunity offered, I know not, but 
we got nothing more that night. 

" The next adventure was in the dusk of the evening, in a court 
which goes out of Gracechurch-street into Lombard-street, where 
the Quakers' meeting-house is. There was a young fellow, who, 
as we learned afterwards, was a woollen-draper's apprentice in 
Gracechurch-street; it seems, he had been receiving a sum of 
money, which was very considerable, and he came to a goldsmith's 
in Lombard-street with it, paid in the most of it there, insomuch 
that it grew dark, and the goldsmith began to shut up his shop, and 
to light his candles. We watched him in there, and stood on the 
other side of the way, to see what he did. When he had paid in 
all the money he intended, he stayed a little longer to take notes 
for what he had paid. At last he came out of the shop with still a 
pretty large bag under his arm, and walked over into the court, 
which was then very dark. In the middle of the court is a boarded 
entry, and at the end of it a threshold : and as soon as he had set 
his foot over the threshold, he was to turn on his left hand into 

" Keep up,' said Will tome; ' be nimble:' and as soon as he 
had said so, he flew at the young man, and gave him such a violent 
thrust that it pushed him forward with too great a force for him to 
stand, and as he strove to recover the threshold, Will took hold of 
his feet, and he fell forward. I stood ready, and presently fell out 
the bag of money, which I heard fall, for it flew out of his hand. 
I went forward with the money, and Will, finding 1 had it, rau 
backward, and, as I made along Femmurch-street, overtook me, 


and we scoured home together. The poor young man was hurt a 
little with the fall, and reported to his master, as we heard after 
wards, that he was knocked down. His master was glad the rest 
of the money was paid in to the bankers, and made no great noise 
at the loss, only cautioned his apprentice to avoid such dark places 
for the future. 

" This booty amounted to 142. 18s. apiece, and added extremely 
to my store, which began to grow too big for my management ; but 
still I was at a loss with whom to trust it. 

" A little after this, WilJ brought me into the company of two 
more young fellows : we met at the lower part of Gray's-inn-lane, 
about an hour before sunset, and went out into the fields towards a 
place called the Pindar of Wakefiekl where are abundance of 
brick-kilns. Here it was agreed to spread from the field path to the 
road-way, all the way towards Pancras church, to observe any 
chance game, which, as they called it, they might shoot flying. 
Upon the path, within the bank on the side of the road going towards 
Kentish Town, two of our gang, Will and one of the others, met 
a single gentleman walking apace towards the town, it being almost 
dark. Will cried, 'Mark, ho!' which it seems was the word at 
which we were all to stand still at a distance, come in if he wanted 
help, and give a signal if anything appeared that was dangerous. 
" Will stepped up to the gentleman, stopped him, and put the 
question, that is, ' Sir, your money !' The gentleman, seeing he 
was alone, struck at him with his cane ; but Will, a nimble, strong 
fellow, flew upon him, and with struggling got him down ; then he 
begged for his life, Will having told him, with an oath, that he 
would cut his throat in a moment. While this was doing, a hack- 
ney-coach came along the road, and the fourth man who was that 
way cried, ' Mark, ho !' which was to intimate that it was a prize, 
not a surprise ; and, accordingly, the next man went up to assist 
him, where they stopped the coach, which had a doctor of physic 
and a surgeon in it, who had been to visit some very rich patient, 
and I suppose had considerable fees, for here they got two gold 
purses, one with eleven or twelve guineas, the other six, with some 
pocket money, two watches, one diamond ring, and the surgeon's 
plaster-box, which was nearly full of silver instruments. 

" While they were at this work, Will kept the man down, who 
was under him ; and though he promised not to kill him, unless he 
offered to make a noise, yet he would not let him stir till he heard 
the noise of the coach going on again, by which he knew the job 
was sver on that side. Then he carried him a little out of the way, 


tied his hands behind him, and bade him lie still and make no noise 
and he would come back in half an hour, and untie him upon his 
word; but if he cried out, he would come back and kill him. The 
poor man promised to lie still, and make no noise, and did so, and 
had not above lis. 6d. in his pocket, which Will took, and came 
back to the rest. But whiJe they were together, I was on the other 
side of the Pindar of Wakefield, and cried out, ' Mark, ho!' too. 
" What I saw was a couple of poor women— one a kind of a nurs«, 
and the other a maid-servant, going for Kentish Town. As Will 
knew I was but young at the work, he came flying to me, and seeing 
how easy a bargain it was, he said, ' Go, Colonel, fall to work!' 1 
went up to them, and, speaking to the elderly woman, ' Nurse,' said I, 
1 don't be in such haste — 1 want to speak with you ;' at which they 
both stopped, and looked a little frightened. ' Don't be alarmed, 
sweetheart,' said I to the maid ; ' a little of that money in the bottom 
of your pocket will make all easy, and I'll do you no harm.' By 
this time Will came up to us, for they had not seen him before ; 
then they began to scream out. ' Hold!' said I, ' make no noise, 
unless you have a mind to force us to murder you whether we will 
or no : give me your money presently, and make no words, and 
we shan't hurt you.' Upon this the poor maid pulled out five shillings 
and sixpence, and the old woman a guinea and a shilling, crying 
heartily for her money, and said it was all she had in the world. 
Well, we took it for all that, though it made my heart bleed to se? 
what agony the poor woman was in at parting with it, and I askeo 
her where she lived? she said her name was Smith, and she lived 
at Kentish Town. I said nothing to her, but bade them go on about 
their business, and 1 gave Will the money. In a few minutes we 
were all together again. One of the rogues said, ' Come, this is 
well enough for one road; it's time to be gone.' So we jogged 
away, crossing the field, out of the path, towards Tottenham-court. 
1 But, hold,' said Will, ■ I must go and untie the man, d — n him.' 
One of them said, ' Let him lie.' ' No,' said Will, ' I will not 
be worse than my word : I will untie him.' So he went to the place ; 
but the man was gone : either he had untied himself, or somebody 
had passed by, and he had called for help, and so was untied, for 
he could not find him, nor make him hear, though he ventured *o 
call twice for him aloud. 

" This made us hasten away the faster, and getting into Totten- 
ham-court road, they thought it was a little too near, so they made 
into the town at St. Giles's, and crossing to Piccadilly, wont to 
Hyde Park gate ; here they ventured to rob another coach, that is 


to say, one of the two other rogues and Will did it between the 
Park-gate and Knightsbridge. There was in it only a gentleman 
and a woman whom he had picked up, it seems, at the Spring-garden 
a little farther : they took the gentleman's money, and his watch, 
and his silver hilted sword ; but when they came to the woman, she 
cursed them for robbing the gentleman of his money, and leaving 
none for her : as for herself she had not one sixpenny-piece about 
her though she was, indeed, well enough dressed too. Having 
made this adventure, we parted, and went each man to his lodging. 

" Two days after this, Will came to my lodging, for I had now 
got a room by myself! and appointed me to meet him the next even- 
ing at such a place. I went, but to my great satisfaction missed 
him, but met with the gang at another place, who had committed 
a notorious robbery near Hounslow ; where they wounded a gentle- 
man's gardener, so that, I think, he died, and robbed the house of 
a very considerable sum of money and plate. This, however, was 
not so clean carried, but the neighbours were alarmed, the rogues 
pursued, and being at London with the booty, one of them was 
taken ; but Will, being a dexterous fellow, made his escape with 
the money and plate. He knew nothing that one of his comrades 
was taken, and that they were all so closely pursued that every 
one was obliged to shift for himself. He happened to come in the 
evening, as good luck then directed him, just after search had been 
made for him by the constables ; his companion who was taken, 
having upon promise of favour, and to save himself from the gallows, 
discovered his confederates, and Will amongst the rest, as the 
principal party in the whole undertaking. He got notice of it, and 
left all his booty at my lodging, hiding it in an old coat that lay 
under my bed, leaving word he had been there, and had left the 
coat that he borrowed of me under my bed. I knew not what to 
make of it, but went up-stairs, and finding the parcel, was surpris- 
ed to see wrapped up in it, above a hundred pounds in plate and 
money, and beard nothing of brother Will, as he called himself, 
for three or four days, when we sold the plate after the rate of two 
shillings per ounce, to a pawnbroker near Cloth-Fair. 

11 About two days afterwards, going upon the stroll, whom should 
1 meet but my former brother, Captain Jack ! when he saw me, he 
came close to me in his blunt way, and said, ' Have you heard the 
news?' 1 asked him, 'what news?' He told me, ' My old comrade 
and teacher was taken, and that morning carried to Newgate ; that 
he was charged with a robbery and murder, committed somewhere 
beyond Brentford; and that the worst was, he was impeached.' I 


thanked him for his information, and fur that time parted; but was 
the very next morning surprised, when, going across Rag-Fair, ( 
heard one call ' Jack.' I looked behind me, and immediately saw 
three men, and after them a constable, coming towards me with 
great sneed. I was in a great surprise, and started to run ; but one 
of tnem clapped in upon me, got hold of me, and in a moment the 
rest surrounded me, and told me they were to apprehend a known 
thief, who went by the name of one of the ■ Three Jacks of Rag- 
Fair;* for that he was charged upon oath with having been a pa*rty 
in a notorious robbery, burglary, and murder, committed in such 
a place and on such a day. 

" Not to trouble the reader with an account of the discourse that 
passed between the justice, before whom I was carried, and my- 
self, I shall in brief inform him, that my brother Captain Jack, 
who had the forwardness to put it to me whether I was among them 
or no, when in truth he was there himself, had the only reason to 
fly, at the same time that he advised me to shift for myself; so that 
1 was discharged, and in about three weeks after, my master and 
tutor in wickedness, poor Will, was executed for the fact. 

" I had nothing to do now but to find out the captain, of whom, 
though not without some trouble, I at last got news, and told him 
the whole story. He presently discovered, by his surprise, that he 
was guilty, and after a few words more told me, ' It was all true, 
that he was in the robbery, and had the greatest part of the booty 
in keeping ; but what to do with it, or himself, he did not know, 
but thought of flying into Scotland,' asking me if I would go with 
him ?' I consented, and he showed me twenty-two pounds he had 
in money. I honestly produced all the money I had left, which 
was upwards of sixteen pounds. We set out from London on foot, 
and travelled the first day to Ware ; for we had learned so much of 
the road that our way lay through that town ; from Ware we tra- 
velled to Cambridge, though that was not our direct road. The oc- 
casion was this : in our way through Puckeridge, wo baited at an 
inn, and while we were there, a countryman came and fastened his 
horse at the gate, while he went into drink. We sat in the gateway, 
and having called for a mug of beer, wo drank it up. We had 
boon talking to the ostler about the way to Scotland, who told us to 
ask the road to Royston : ' But,' said he, ■ there is a turning just 
here a little farther, you must not go that way, for that goes to 

" We had paid for our beer, and sat at the door only to rest us v 
when on a sudden a gentleman's coach drove up, and throe 


or four horsemen rode into the yard, and the ostler was obliged tc 
go in with them. Said he to the captain, ' Young man, pray take 
hold of the horse,* meaning the countryman's horse I mentioned 
above, * and take him out of the way that the coach may come up.' 
He did so, and beckoned to me to follow him. We walked together 
to the turning ; said he to me, " Do you step before, and turn up 
the lane ; I'll overtake you ; so I went on up the lane, and in a few 
minutes he got upon the horse, and was soon at my heels, bidding 
me get up and take a lift. 

" I made no difficulty of doing so, and away we went at a good 
round rate, having a strong horse under us. We suspected the 
countryman would follow us to Royston, because of our directions 
from the ostler ; so that we went, towards Cambridge, and went 
easier after the first hour's riding; and coming through a town or 
two, we alighted by turns, and did not then ride double, but by 
the way picked a couple of good shirts off a hedge; and that even- 
ing got safe to Cambridge, where the next day 1 bought a horse for 
myself. Thus equipped, we jogged on through several places, till 
we got to Stamford in Lincolnshire, where it was impossible to res- 
train my captain from playing his pranks, even at church ; where 
he went, and placed himself so near an old lady, that he got her 
gold watch from her side unperceived; and the same night we went 
away by moonlight, after having the satisfaction to hear the watch 
cried, and ten guineas offered for it again. He would have been 
glad of the ten guineas instead of the watch, but durst not venture 
to carry it home. We went through several other places, such as 
Grantham, Newark, and Nottingham, where we played our tricks; 
but at last we got safe to Edinburgh, without any accident but one, 
which was in crossing a ford, where the captain was really in danger 
of drowning, his horse being driven down by the stream, and fall- 
ing under him ; but the rider had a proverb on his side, and got 
out of the water. 

" At Edinburgh we remained about a month, when, on a sudden, 
my captain was gone, horse and all, and 1 knew nothing what was 
become of him, nor did I ever see or hear of him for eighteen months 
after; nor did he so much as leave the least notice for me, either 
where he was gone, or whether he would return to Edinburgh again 
or no. I took his leaving me very grievously, not knowing what to 
do with myself, being a stranger in the place, and on the other 
hand, my money abated apace too. I had, for the most part of this 
time, my horse upon my hands to keep; and, as horses yield but 
a sorry price in Scotland, I found no opportunity to sell him to any 
advantage, however, at last, I was forced to dispose of him. 


" Being thus easeu of my horse, and having nothing at all to do, 
1 began to consider within myself what would become of me, and 
what I could turn my hand to. I had not much diminished my stock 
of money ; for though I was all the way so wary that 1 would not join 
with my captain in his desperate attempts, yet I made no scruple to 
live at his expense. In the next place, I was not so anxious about 
my money running low, because I had made a reserve, by leaving 
upwards of 90/. in a friend's hands at London; but still, I w&s 
willing to get into some employment for a livelihood. I was sick 
of the wandering life I had led, and resolved to be a thief no more, 
but stuck close to writing and reading for about six months, till I 
got into the service of an officer of the Customs, who employed me 
for a time ; but, as he set me to do little but pass and repass between 
Leith and Edinburgh, leaving me to live at my own expense till 
my wages should be due, I ran out the little money I had left in 
clothes and subsistence, and shortly before the year's end, when I 
was to have 12/. English money, my master was turned out of his 
place, and, what was worse, having been charged with some mis- 
applications, was obliged to take shelter in England ; so we that 
were his servants — for there were three of us — were left to shift for 
ourselves. This was a hard case for me, in a strange place, and 1 
was reduced by it to the last extremity. I might have gone to 
England, an English ship being there : the master proffered to take 
my word for ten shillings, till I got there; but just as I was de- 
parting, Captain Jack appeared again. 

" I have mentioned how he left me, and that I saw him no more 
for eighteen months. His ramble and adventures were many; in 
that time he went to Glasgow, playing some very remarkable pranks 
there ; escaped the gallows almost miraculously ; got over to Ire- 
land; wandered about there; escaped from Londonderry over to 
the Highlands, and, about a month before I was left destitute at 
Leith by my master, noble Captain Jack came in there, on board 
the ferry-boat from Fife, being, after all his adventures and suc- 
cesses, advanced to the dignity of a foot soldier in a body of recruits, 
raised in the north for the regiment of Douglas. 

11 After my disaster, being reduced almost as low as Jack, I found 
no better shift before me, at least liot for the present, than to enter 
myself a soldier too; and thus we were ranked together, with each 
of us a musket upon our shoulders. 1 was extremely delighted with 
the life of a soldier; for I took the exercises naturally, so that the 
sergeant who taught us to handle our arms, seeing me so ready at 
it, asked me, if 1 had never carried arms before ? I told him, no. 
At which he swore, though jesting; ' They call you colonel,* said 


h*», ' and I believe you will be a colonel, or you must be some colo- 
nel's bastard, or you would never handle your arms as you do, at 
once or twice showing.' Whatever was my satisfaction in that 
respect, yet other circumstances did not equally concur to marke 
this life suit me ; for, after we had been about six months in this 
company, we were informed, that we were to march for England, and 
be shipped off at Newcastle, or Hull, to join the regiment in Flan- 
ders. Poor Captain Jack's case was particular ; he durst not appear 
publicly at Newcastle, as he must have done had he marched with 
the recruits. In the next place, I remembered my money in London, 
which was almost 100/. ; and if it had been asked all the soldiers 
in the regiment, which of them would go to Flanders a private 
sentinel if they had 100/. in their pockets, I believe none of them 
would have answered in the affirmative. 

" These two circumstances concurring, I began to be very uneasy, 
and very unwilling in my thoughts to go over into Flanders a poor 
Musketeer, to be knocked on the head for 3s. 6d. a-week. While 
I was daily musing on the hardship of being sent away as above, 
Captain Jack came to me one evening, and asked me to take a 
walk with him into the fields, for he wanted to speak with me. We 
walked together here, and talked seriously of the matter, and at 
last concluded to desert that very night; the moon affording a good 
light, and Jack having got a comrade with him thoroughly acquaint- 
ed with the way across the Tweed; when on the other side we should 
be on English ground, and safe enough ; from thence we proposed 
to go to Newcastle, and get some collier ship to take us in, and 
carry us to London. 

" About half an hour past eight in the morning, we reached the 
Tweed; and here we overtook two more of the same regiment, who 
had deserted from Haddingdon, where another part of the recruits 
were quartered. These were Scotsmen, and very poor, having not 
one penny in their pockets ; and when they saw us, whom they 
knew to be of the same regiment, they took us to be pursuers : 
upon which they stood upon their defence, having the regi- 
ment swords on, as we had also, but none of the mounting or 
clothing; for we were not to receive the clothes till we came to the 
regiment in Flanders. It was not long before we made them under- 
stand that we were in the same condition with themselves; and so 
we became one company. Oar money had ebbed very low, and 
we contrived to get into Newcastle in the dusk of the evening; and 
even then we durst not venture into the public parts of the ^ice, 
out made down towards the river ociovv tne town. Here v.e knew 


uot what to do with ourselves, but, guided by our late, we yut a 
good face upon the matter, went into an alehouse, sat down, ana 
called for a pint of beer. 

" The woman of the house appeared very frank, and entertained 
us cheerfully; so we, at last, told her our condition, and asked her 
if she could not help us to some kind master of a collier, who would 
give us a passage to London by sea. The subtle devil, who im- 
mediately found us proper fish for her hook, gave us the kindes^ 
words in the world, and told us she was heartily sorry she had not 
seen us one day sooner; that there was a collier-master of her par- 
ticular acquaintance, who went away but with the morning tide ; 
that the ship was fallen down to Shields, but, she believed, was 
hardly over the bar, and she would send to his house, and see if he 
was gone on board, (for some masters do not go away till a tide after 
the ship :) and she was sure, if he was not gone, she could prevail 
with him to take us all in : but then she was afraid we must go on 
board immediately, the same night. 

" We begged of her to send to his house, for we knew not what 
fc> do; for, as we had no money, we had no lodging, and wanted 
nothing but to be on board. We looked upon this as a mighty fa- 
vour that she sent to the master's house, and, to our great joy, she 
brought us word, about an hour after, that he was not gone, and 
was at a tavern in the town, whither his boy had been to fetch him; 
and that he had sent word he would call there in his way home 
This was all in our favour, and we were extremely pleased with it. 
In about an hour he came into the room to us. ' Where are these 
honest gentlemen soldiers,' said he, ' that are in such distress ?' We 
all stood up, and paid our respects to him. * Well, gentlemen,' 
said he, ' and is all your money spent ?' 

" ■ Indeed it is,' said one of our company, ' and we shall be 
infinitely obliged to you, sir, if you will give us a passage. We 
shall be very willing to do any thing we can in the ship, though we 
are not seamen.' 

" ■ Why,' said he, ■ were none of you ever at sea in your lives?* 

" * No,' said we, * not one of us.' 

" ' You will be able to do me no seivice, then; for you will all 
be sick. However, for my good landlady's sake here, I'll do it. 
But are you all ready to go on board, for I go on board myself this 
very night.' 

" * Yes, sir,' said we again, ' we are ready to go this very minute.' 

" * No, no.' said he, very kindly, ■ we'll drink together. Oome, 
landlady, make these honest gentlemen a sneaker of puncfc.' 


" We looked at one another, for we knew we had no money; 
and he perceived it. ' Come, come,' said he, ' don't be concerned 
at your having no money: my landlady here, and 1, never part 
with dry lips. Come, good wife, make the punch, as I bid you.' 

" We thanked him, and said, - God bless you, noble captain!' 
a hundred times over, being overjoyed at our good luck. While 
we were drinking the punch, he told the landlady he would step 
home, and order the boat to come at high water, and bade her get 
something for supper, which she did. 

4; In less than an hour our captain returned, and came up to us, 
aad blamed us that we had not drunk the punch out. ' Come,' said 
ae, ' don't be bashful; when that's out, we can have another. 
*v uen I am obliging poor men, I love to do it handsomely.' 

M We drank on, and drank the punch out ; more was brought up, 
ana he pushed it about apace ; then came up a leg of mutton. I 
need not say we fed heartily, being several times told we should 
jjay nothing. After supper, he bade my landlady ask if the boat 
was come ; and she brought word, No, it was not high water by a 
great deal. Then more punch was called for, and, as was afterwards 
confessed, something more than ordinary was put into it, so that, 
by the time the punch was drunk out, we were all intoxicated ; and 
as for me, I fell asleep. 

" At last I was roused, and told that the boat was come : so I 
and my drunken comrades tumbled out, almost one over another, 
into the boat, and away we went with our captain. Most of us, if 
not all, fell asleep till after some time, though how much, or how 
far going, we knew not. The boat stopped, and we were awakened, 
and told we were at the ship's side, which was true, and with much 
help, and holding us, for fear we should fall overboard, our captain, 
as we termed him, called us thus: — ' Here: boatswain, take care 
of these gentlemen ; give them good cabins, and let them turn in 
to sleep, for they are very weary.' And so indeed we were, and 
drunk too. 

" Care was taken of us, according to order, and we were put into 
very good cabins, where we were sure to go immediately to sleep. 
In the mean time, the ship, which was indeed just ready to go, and 
only on notice given had come to anchor for us at Shields, weighed, 
stood over the bar, and went off to sea; and when we awoke, and 
began to peep abroad, which was not till near noon the next day, 
we found ourselves a great way at sea, the land in sight indeed, 
but at a great distance, and all going merrily on for London, as I 
thought. We were very well used, and very well satisfied with our 



condition, for about three days, when we began to inquire, whether 
we were not almost in the Channel, and how much longer it would 
be before we should come into the river ? ' What river ?' said one 
of the men. ' Why, the Thames,* said my Captain Jack. ' The 
Thames V answered the sailor, ' what d'ye mean by that ? What ! 
ha'n't you had time enough to be sober yet?' So Captain Jack 
said no more, but looked very silly, when, awhile after, some other 
of us asked the same question, and the seamen, who knew nothiri£ 
of the cheat, began to smell a rat, and turning to the other English- 
man who came with us, ' Pray/ said he, ■ where do you fanr.*v vou 
are going, that you ask so often about it?' ■ Why to Londo'i,' 
said he ; ' where should we be going ? We agreed with the eav * J In 
to carry us to London.' 

" • Not with the captain,' said he ; ' I dare say, poor men, you are 
all cheated ; and I thought so when I saw you come aboarl with 
that kidnapping rogue Gilliman ; you are all betrayed, for the ship 
is bound to Virginia.' As soon as we heard this news, we were 
raving men, drew our swords, and swore revenge ; but we were 
soon overpowered, and carried before the captain, who told us, ne 
was sorry for what had happened, but that he had no hand in it, 
and it was out of his power to help us; and he let us know very 
plainly what our condition was, namely, that we were put on board 
his ship as servants to Maryland, to be delivered to a person there ; 
but that, however, if we would be quiet and orderly in his ship, lie 
would use us well in the passage ; but if we were unruly, we must 
be handcuffed, and be kept between decks; for it was his business 
to take care no disturbance happened in the ship. 

" ' No hand in it! D — n him,' said my Captain Jack aloud, ' do 
you think he is not a confederate in this villainy ? would any honest 
man receive innocent people on board his ship, and not enquire of 
their circumstances, but carry them away, and not speak to them ? 
I tell you he is a villain. Why does he not complete his villainy, 
and murder us, and then he'll be free from our revenge !' 

" All this discourse availed nothing, we were forced to be quiet, 
and had a very good voyage, no storms all the way ; but just before 
we arrived, one of the Scotchmen asked the captain of the ship, 
whether he would sell us. ■ Yes,' said he. ' Why then, sir,' said 
the Scotchman, ' the devil will have you at the hinder end of the 
bargain.' * Say you so ?' said the captain, smiling : ' well, well, let 
the devil and I alone to agree about that; do you be quiet, and 
behave civilly, as you should do.' 

" When we came ashore, which was on the banks of a river they 


call Potomack, Jack said, " I have something to say to you, cap- 
tain ; that is, I have promised to cut your throat, and, depend upon 
it, I will be as good as my word." Our captain or kidnapper, call 
him as you will, made no answer, but delivered us to the merchant 
to whom we were consigned, who again disposed of us as he thought 
fit; and in a few days we were separated. 

" As for my Captain Jack, to make short of the story, that des- 
perate rogue had the good luck to have an easy good master, whom 
he abused very much ; for he took an opportunity to run away with 
a boat, with which his master entrusted him and another to carry 
provisions to a plantation down the river. This boat and provisions 
they ran away with, an<u sailed north to the bottom of the bay, as 
they call it, and there quitting the boat, they wandered through 
the woods, till they got into Pennsylvania, from whence they made 
shift to get a passage to New England, and from thence home; 
where, falling in among his old companions, and to his old trade, 
he was at length taken and hanged about a month before I came to 
London, which was near twenty years afterwards. 

" My part was harder at the beginning, though better at the latter 
end ; I was sold to a rich planter whose name was Smith. During 
this scene of life 1 had time to reflect on my past hours ; and though 
I had no great capacity of making a clear judgment, and very few 
reflections from conscience, yet it made some impression upon me. 
I behaved myself so well, that my master took notice of me, and 
made me one of his overseers ; and was so kind as to send my note 
of my friend's hand for the 93£. before-mentioned, to his corres- 
pondent, who received and returned me the money. My good 
master, a little time after, said to me, ' Colonel, don't flatter me, 
I love plain dealing : liberty is precious to every body, I give you 
yours, and will take care you shall be well used by the country, and 
will get you a good plantation.' 

" I insisted I would not quit his service for the best plantation 
in Maryland; that he had been so good tome, and I believed I was 
so useful to him, that 1 could not think of it; and at last I added, 
I hoped he could not believe but that I had as much gratitude as a 

" He smiled, and said he would not be served upon these terms; 
that he did not forget what he had promised, nor what I had done 
in his plantation : and that he was resolved in the first place to give 
me my liberty ; so he pulled out a piece of paper, and threw it to 
me : ' There,' said he, ' is a certificate of your coining on shore, 
and being sold to me for five years, of which you have lived three 
with me, and now you are your own master.' 


" I bowed, and told him, that I was sure if I was my own master, 
I would be his servant as long as he would accept of my services. 
He told me he would accept of my services on these two conditions ; 
first, that he would give me 30/. per annum and my board, for my 
managing the plantation I was then employed in. And secondly, 
that at the same time he would procure me a new plantation to begin 
with upon my own account; * for Jack,' said he, smiling, 'though 
you are but a young man, 'tis time you were doing something for 
yourself.' *• 

" Not long after, he purchased in my name about 300 acres of 
fond, near his own plantation, as he said, that I might the better 
take care of his. My master, for such I must still call him, gene- 
rously gave it me; ' but Colonel,' said he, ' giving you this plan- 
tation is nothing at all, if I do not assist you to support it, and to 
carry it on, and therefore I will give you credit for whatever is 
needful; such as tools, provisions, and some servants to begin; 
materials for out-houses, and hogs, cows, horses for stock, and the 
like ; and I'll take it out of your returns from abroad, as you can 
pay it.' 

" Thus got to be a planter, and encouraged by a kind benefactor 
that I might not be wholly taken up with my new plantation, he 
gave me freely, without any consideration, one of his negroes, 
named Mouchat, whom I always esteemed. Besides this, he sent 
to me two servants more, a man and a woman ; but these two he 
put to my account as above. Mouchat and these two fell immedi- 
ately to work for me ; they began with about two acres of land, 
which had but little timber on it at first, and most of that was cut 
down by the two carpenters who built my house. It was a great 
advantage to me, that I had so bountiful a master who helped me 
out in every case; for in this very first year, I received a terrible 
blow; having sent a large quantity of tobacco to a merchant in 
London, by my master's direction, which arrived safe there, the 
merchant was ordered to make the return in a sorted cargo of goods 
for me, such as would have made a man of me all at once, but, to 
my inexpressible terror and surprise, the ship was lost, and that 
just at the entrance into the Cape, that is to say, the mouth of the 
bay; some of the goods were recovered, but spoiled. In short, 
nothing but the nails, tools, and iron-work were good for any thing; 
and though the value of them was very considerable in proportion 
to the rest; yet my loss was irreparably great, and indeed the 
greatness of the loss consisted in its being irreparable. 

" I was perfectly astonished at the first news of the loss, knowing 
that I was in debt to my patron or master so much, that it must be 


several years befere I should recover it; and as he brought me the 
bad news himself, he perceived my disorder ; that is to say, he saw 
I was in the utmost confusion, and a kind of amazement; and so 
indeed I was, because I was so much in debt. But he spoke cheer- 
fully to me, * Come,' said he, ' do not be so discouraged ; you may 
make up this loss.' ' No, sir,' said I, * that never can be, for it is 
my all, and I shall never be out of debt.' ■ Well,' he answered, 
* you have no creditor, however, but me ; and, now, remember I 
once told you, I would make a man of you, and I will not disap- 
point you.' For this further proof of his friendship I thanked him 
with more ceremony and respect than ever, because 1 thought my- 
self more under the hatches than I was before : but he was as good 
as his word, for he did not baulk me in the least of anything I 
wanted; and as I had more iron-work saved out of the ship in pro- 
portion than I required, I supplied him with some part of it, and 
took up some linen and clothes and other necessaries from him in 
exchange. And now I began to increase visibly; I had a large 
quantity of land cured, that is, freed from timber, and a very good 
crop of tobacco in view, and I got three servants more, and one 
negro; so- that I had five white servants and two negroes; and with 
this my affairs went very well on ; the first year, indeed, I took my 
wages or salary of 301. a-year, because I wanted it ve-ry much ; 
but the second and third year 1 resolved not to take it, but to leave 
it in my benefactor's hands, to clear off the debt I had contracted. 
" At the same time my thoughts dictated to me, that though this 
was the foundation of my new life, yet it was not the superstructure, 
and that 1 might still be born for greater things than these; that it 
is honesty and virtue alone that made men rich and great, and gave 
them fame, as well as figure in the world, and that therefore I was 
to lay my foundation in these, and expect what might follow in time. 
To help these thoughts, as I had learned to read and write when I 
was in Scotland, so 1 began now to love books, and particularly 
had an opportunity of reading some very considerable ones, some 
of which I bought at a planter'i house, who was lately dead and 
his goods sold, and others I borrowed. I considered my present 
state of life to be my mere youth, though I was now above 30 years 
old, because in my youth I had learned nothing; and if my daily 
business, which was now great, would have permitted, 1 would have 
been content to have gone to school. However, fate, which had 
something else in store for me, threw an opportunity into my hand, 
namely, a clever fellow that came over a transported felon from 
Bristol and fell into my hands for a servant. He had led a loose 


life, he acknowledged, and being driven to extremities, took to the 
highway, for which, had he been taken, he would have been hang- 
ed; but falling into some low-prized rogueries afterwards, for want 
of opportunity for worse, he was caught, condemned, and trans- 
ported, and, as he said, was glad he came off so. 

" He was an excellent scholar, and I perceiving it, asked him 
one time if he could give a method how I might learn the Latin 
tongue ; he said, smiling, yes, he could teach it me in three montfff, 
if I would let him have books, or even without books if he had time. 
1 told him a book would become his hand better than a hoe, and if 
he could promise to make me but understand Latin enough to read 
it and understand other languages by it, I would ease him of the 
labour which I was now obliged to put him to ; especially if 1 was 
assured that he was fit to receive that favour of a kind master. In 
short, I made him to me, what my kind benefactor made rne to him : 
and from him I gained a fund of knowledge infinitely more valuable 
than the rate of a slave, which was what I paid for it;— but of this 

" In this posture I went on for twelve years, and was very suc- 
cessful in my plantation, and had gotten by means of my master's 
favour, whom now I called my friend, a correspondent in London, 
with whom I traded ; shipped over my tobacco to him, and received 
European goods in return, such as I wanted to carry on my planta- 
tion, and sufficient to sell to others also. In this interval, my good 
friend and benefactor died; and I was left very disconsolate on 
account of my loss, for it was indeed a great loss to me ; he had 
been a father to me, and I was like a forsaken stranger without him. 
Though I knew the country, and the trade too, well enough, and 
had for some time chieily carried on his whole business for him; 
yet I seemed greatly at. a loss now my counsellor and chief supporter 
was gone, and I had no confidant to communicate myself to, on all 
occasions, as formerly ; but there was no remedy. 1 was, however, 
m a better condition to stand alone than ever; 1 had a very large 
plantation, and had near seventy negroes, and other servants. 

" 1 now looked upon myself as one buried alive in a remote part 
of the world, where I could see nothing at all, and hear but little 
of what was seen, and that little not till at least hall' a year after 
it was done, and sometimes a year or nioiv; and in a word, the 
old reproach often came in my way, namely, that tins was not yet 
the life of a gentleman. However, 1 now began to frame my 
thoughts for a voyage to England, resolving then to act as I should 
see cause, but with a secret resolution to see more of the world if 


possible, and realise those things to my mind, which I had hitherto 
only entertained remote ideas of by the help of books. 

" It was three years after this before I could get things in order 
fit for my leaving the country : in this time I delivered my tutor 
from his bondage, and would have given him his liberty, but I 
found that I could not empower him to go for England till his 
time was expired according to the certificate of his transportation, 
which was registered; so I made him one of my overseers, and 
thereby raised him gradually to a prospect of living in the same 
manner, and by the like steps, that my good benefactor raised me, 
only that I did not assist him to enter upon planting for himself as 
I was assisted, neither was I upon the spot to do it; but this man 
by his diligence and honest application delivered himself, even 
unassisted any farther than by making him an overseer, which was 
only a present ease and deliverance from the hard labour and fare 
which he endured as a s<? vant. However, in this trust he behaved 
so faithfully, and so diligently, that it recommended him in the 
country, and, when I came back, I found him in circumstances 
very different from what I left him in, besides his being my princi- 
pal manager for near twenty years, as you shall hear in its 

" I was now making provision for my going to England, after 
having settled my plantation in such hands as were fully to my 
satisfaction. My first work was, to furnish myself with such a 
stock of goods and money as might be sufficient for my occasions 
abroad, and, particularly, might allow to make large returns to 
Maryland for the use and supply of all my plantations ; but when 
I came to look nearer into the voyage, it occurred to me that it would 
not be prudent to put my cargo all on board the same ship that I 
went in ; so I shipped, at several times, five hundred hogsheads of 
tobacco, in several ships, for England, giving notice to my corres- 
pondent in London, that I would embark about such a time to come 
over myself, and ordering him to insure for a considerable sum 
proportioned to the value of my cargo. 

" About two months after this I left the place, and embarked for 
England in a stout ship carrying 24 guns, and about GOO hogsheads 
of tobacco ; and we left the capes of Virginia on the first of August 

. We had a very sour and rough voyage for the first fortnight, 

though it was in a season so generally noted for good weather. 
We met with a storm, and our ship was greatly damaged, and some 
leaks were sprung, but not so bad but by the diligence of the sea- 
men they were stopped ; after which we had tolerable weather and 


a good sea, till we came into the soundings, for so they call the 
mouth of the British Channel. In the grey of the morning, a 
French privateer, of 26 guns, appeared, and crowded after us with 
all the sail she could make. Our captain exchanged a broadside 
or two with her, which was terrible work to me; for I had never 
seen such before; the Frenchman's guns having raked us, and 
killed and wounded six of our men. In short, after a fight long 
enough to show us that if we would not be taken, we must resolve 
to sink by her side, for there was no room to expect deliverance, 
and a fight long enough to save the master's credit, we were taken, 
and the ship carried away for St. Malo's. I had however, besides 
my being taken, the mortification to be detained on board the 
cruiser, and to see the ship I was in, manned by Frenchmen, set 
6ail from us. I afterwards heard that she was re-taken by an Eng- 
lish man of-war, and carried into Portsmouth 

" The Rover cruised abroad again, in the mouth of the Channel, 
for some time, and took a ship richly laden, bound homeward from 
Jamaica. This was a noble prize for the rogues, and they hastened 
away with her to St. Malo's ; and from thence I went to Bourdeaux, 
where the captain asked me. if I would be delivered up a state 
prisoner, get myself exchanged, or pay three hundred crowns. I 
desired time to write to my correspondent, in England, who sent 
me a letter of credit, and in about six weeks I was exchanged for 
a merchant prisoner in Plymouth. I got passage from hence to 
Dunkirk, on board a French vessel ; and having a certificate of 
an exchanged prisoner from the intendant of Bourdeaux, I had a 
passport given me to go into the Spanish Netherlands, and so 
whither I pleased. I went to Ghent, afterwards to Newport, where 
I took the packet-boat, and came over to England, landing at Deal 
instead of Dover, the weather forcing us into the Downs. When 
I came to London, J was very well received by my friend to whom 
I had consigned my effects : for all my goods came safe to hand, 
and the overseers I had left behind had shipped, at several times, 
four hundred hogsheads of tobacco, to my correspondent, in my 
absence. So that I had above 1000/. in my factor's hands, and 
two hundred hogsheads besides, left in hand, unsold. 

" I had nothing to do now, but entirely to conceal myself from 
all that had any knowledge of me before; and this was the easiest 
tiling in the world to do, for I was grown out of every body's know- 
ledge, and most of those I had known, were grown out of mine. 

** My Captain who went with me, or rather who carried me away, 
I found by enquiring at the proper place, had been rambling about 


the world, come to London, fallen into his old trade, which he 
could not forbear, and growing an eminent highwayman, had made 
his exit at the gallows after a life of fourteen years most exquisite 
and successful rogueries; the particulars of which would make, as 
I observed, an admirable history. My other brother Jack, whom 
I called Major, followed the like wicked trade ; but was a man of 
more gallantry and gen^ 1 /, and having committed innumerable 
depredations upon mam.. , had yet always so much dexterity as 
to bring himself off, till at length he was laid fast in Newgate, and 
loaded with irons, and would certainly have gone the same way as 
the Captain, but he was so dexterous a rogue, that no gaol, no 
fetters would hold him; and he and two more found means to knock 
off their irons, worked their way through the wall of the prison, 
and let themselves down on the outside, in the night. So escaping, 
they found means to get into France, where he followed the same 
trade, and that with so much success, that the Major grew famous 
by the name of Anthony, and had the honour with three of his 
comrades, (whom he had taught the English way of robbing gene- 
rously, as they called it, without murdering, or wounding, or ill- 
using those they robbed,) to be broken upon the wheel, at the Greve 
in Paris. 

" All these things I found means to be fully informed of, and 
to have a long account of the particulars of their conduct from some 
of their comrades, who had the good fortune to escape, and whom 
I got the knowledge of without letting them so much as guess at 
who I was, or upon what account 1 inquired. 

" I was now at the height of my good fortune, and got the name 
of a great merchant. I lived single, and in lodgings, and kept a 
French servant, being very desirous of improving myself in that 
language, and received five or six hundred hogsheads a year from 
my own plantation, and spent my time in that and supplying my 
people with necessaries at Maryland, as they wanted them. 

" In this private condition I continued about two years more, 
when the devil, owing me a spleen ever since I refused being a thief, 
paid me home with interest, by laying a snare in my way which 
had almost ruined me. 

" There dwelt a lady in the house opposite to the house I lodged 
in, who made an extraordinary figure, and was a most beautiful 
person, she was well bred, sang admirably fine, and sometimes I 
could hear distinctly, the houses being over against one another 
in a narrow court, this lady put herself so often in my way, that I 
could not in good manners forbear taking notice of her, and giving 


the ceremony of my hat when I saw her at her window, or at the 
door, or when I passed her in the court; so that we became almost 
acquainted at a distance. Sometimes she also visited at the house 
in which I lodged, and it was generally contrived that I should be 
introduced when she came. And thus, by degrees, we became 
more intimately acquainted, and often conversed together in the 
family, but always in public, at least for a great while. 1 was a 
mere boy in the affair of love, and knew as little of what belonged 
to a woman, as any man in Europe of my age ; the thoughts of a 
wife, much less of a mistress, had never so much as taken the least 
hold of my head, and I had been till now, as perfectly unacquainted 
with the sex, and as unconcerned about them, as I was when I was 
ten years old, and lay in a heap of ashes at the glass-house. 

" She attacked me without ceasing, with the finesse of her 
conduct, and with arts which were impossible to be ineffectual. She 
was ever, as it were, in my view, often in my company, and yet 
kept herself so on the reserve, so surrounded continually with ob- 
structions, that for several months after she could perceive I sought 
an opportunity to speak to her, she rendered it impossible, nor 
could I ever break in upon her, she kept her guard so well. 

" This rigid behaviour was the greatest mystery that could be, 
considering at the same time, that she never declined my seeing 
her, or conversing with me in public ; but she held it on. She took 
care never to sit next me, that I might slip no paper into her hand, 
or speak softly to her, she kept somebody or other always between, 
that I could never come up to her. And thus, as if she was resolved 
really to have nothing to do with me, she held me at bay several 
months. In short, we came nearer and nearer every time we met, 
and at last gave the world the slip, and were privately married, to 
avoid ceremony, and the public inconvenience of a wedding. 

" No sooner were we married, but she threw off the mask of her 
gravity and good conduct, and carried it to such an excess, that I 
could not but be dissatisfied at the expense of it. In about a twelve- 
month she was brought to bed of a fine boy, and her lying-in cost 
me as near as I can now remember, 136£. which she told me she 
thought was a trifle. Such jarring continually between us produced 
a separation; and she demanded 300/. per annum for her mainte- 
nance. This, however, made me look more closely into her conduct, 
and, by means of two trusty agents, 1 was enabled to detect her 
infidelity, and to sue her before the Ecclesiastical Court, from 
which I obtained a divorce. 

" Things being at this pass, I resolved to go over to France, where 


I fell into company with some Irish officers of the regiment of 
Dillon, where I bought a company, and so went into the army 
directly. Our regiment, after I had been some time in it, was 
commanded into Italy; and one of the most considerable actions I 
was in, was the famous attack upon Cremona, in the Milanese, 
where the Germans being treacherously let into the town by night, 
through a kind of common sewer, surprised the town, and took the 
Duke de Villeroy prisoner, beating the French troops into the cita- 
del, but were in the middle of their victory so boldly attacked by 
two Irish regiments, that, after a most desperate fight, and not 
being able to break through us to let in their friends, they were 
obliged to quit the town, to the eternal honour of those Irish regi- 
ments. Having been in several campaigns, I was permitted to 
sell my company, and got the Chevalier's brevet for a colonel, in 
case of raising troops for him in Great Britain. 1 accordingly 
embarked on board the French fleet for the Firth of Edinburgh; 
but they overshot their landing-place ; and this delay gave time to 
the English fleet, under Sir George Byng, to come to an anchor 
just as we did. 

" Upon this surprise the French admiral set sail, and crowding 
away to the north, got the start of the English fleet, and escaped, 
with the loss of one ship only, to Dunkirk ; and glad I was to set 
my foot on shore again, for all the while we were thus flying for our 
lives I was under the greatest terror imaginable, and nothing but 
halters and gibbets ran in my head, concluding that, if I had been 
taken, I should certainly have been hanged. 

" I took post horses for Flanders, and at last got safe once more 
to London, from which place I embarked for Virginia, and had a 
tolerable voyage thither, only that we met with a pirate ship, which 
plundered us of every thing they could come at which was for their 
turn ; but, to give the rogues their due, though they were the most 
abandoned wretches that ever were seen, they did not use us iJl; 
and, as to my loss, it was not considerable. 

" I found all my affairs in very good order at Virginia, my plan- 
tation prodigiously increased ; and my manager, who first inspired 
me with travelling thoughts, and made me master of any knowledge 
worth naming, received me with a transport of joy, after a ramble 
of four and twenty years. I was exceedingly satisfied with hifr 
management, for he had improved a very large plantation of his 
own at the same time ; however, I had the mortification to see two 
or three of the Preston gentlemen there, who being prisoners of 
war, were spared from the public execution, and sent over to that 
slaverv, which, to gentlemen, must be worse than death. 


" During my stay here, I married a maid [ brought over from 
England, who behaved herself for some time, extraordinary well, 
but at last played the fool, and died; and I not liking to stay long 
in a place where I was so much talked of, sent to one of my corres- 
pondents for a copy of the general free pardon then granted, and 
wherein it was manifest I was fully included. 

" After I had settled my affairs, and left the same faithful steward, 
I again embarked for England, and, after a trading voyage, (for 
we touched at several places in our way,) I arrived safe, determin. 
ing to spend the remainder of my life in my native country ; for 
here I enjoy the moments which I had never before known how to 
employ, and endeavour to atone, as far as possible, for the vices 
of an ill-spent life. 

" Perhaps when I wrote these things down, I did not foresee that 
the writings of our own stories would be so much the fashion in 
England or so agreeable to others to read, as I find custom, and 
the humour of the times, have caused them to be. If any one that 
reads my story pleases to make the same just reflections which I 
ought to have made, he will reap the benefit of my misfortunes, 
perhaps, more than I have done myself. It is evident, by the long 
series of changes and turns which have appeared in the narrow 
compass of one private mean person's life, that the history of men's 
nves may be in many ways made useful and instructive to those who 
read them, if moral and religious improvement and reflections are 
made by those who write them." 


Howard was a gentleman born and bred; he came to an estate in 
Gloucestershire, of fourteen hundred pounds per annum, just about 
the breaking out of the civil war in 1641 ; his father dying that 
year. A sincere love of loyalty inspiring him to fight for his king, 
he mortgaged his estate for twenty thousand pounds, with which 
he raited a troop of horse for the service of Charles the First, who 
gave him the command of them. He remained thus in the army 
till the republican party became conquerors; when lie (with many 
other cavaliers) was obliged to retire into exile. He, however, 
returned to England, with King Charles the Second, on whom he 
attended at Worcester fight, where he performed wonders, and was 
even applauded by his Majesty. But, as it is well known, the 
Parliamentarians triumphed. 


Howard remained in England; but having lost his estate, and 
being out of all employment, he could devise no other way of sup- 
porting himself, than by robbing on the highway : a very precarious 
method indeed ; but what many great gentlemen in those days 
were either obliged to adopt, or to want sustenance. 

It is said of Howard, that when he resolved on this course of life, 
he swore, like others of his contemporaries, that he would be re- 
venged, as far as lay in his power, of all persons who were against 
the interests of his royal master. Accordingly, he attacked all 
whom he met, and knew to be of that party. 

The first of whom he thus assaulted was the Earl of Essex, who 
had been general in chief of the Parliament's forces. His lordship 
was riding over Bagshot Heath, with five or six in retinue ; never- 
theless, Zachary made boldly up to the coach-door, commanded the 
driver to stand, and my lord to deliver; adding, — that if he did not 
comply with his demand without ceremony, neither he nor any of 
his servants, should be spared. It is unaccountable, how a general 
always used to success, and having so many attendants, should be 
terrified at the menaces of a single highwayman. But so it was ; 
and his honour gave him twelve hundred pounds, which he had in 
the coach, and which had been squeezed out of forfeited estates, 
church lands, and sequestrations ; being unwilling to venture his 
life for such a trifle, at a time when the party had such a plentiful 
harvest to reap. Zachary was so well contented with this bootv, 
that he let this nobleman pass on, with desiring him to get such 
another sum ready against the next convenient meeting. 

Another time he overtook, on Newmarket Heath, the Earl of 
Pomfret, so famous for his ludicrous speeches in the House of Com- 
mons, attended by only one footman. Zachary held his lordship in 
discourse for about half a mile; when, coming to a convenient place, 
he pulled out a pistol, and, with a volley of oaths, ordered him to 
surrender that minute. " You seem," says the Earl, " by your 
swearing, to be a ranting cavalier : have you taken a lease of your 
.ife, sir, that you dare venture it thus against two men ?" Howard 
answered, " 1 would venture it against two more, with your idol 
Cromwell, at their head." M Oh," says Pomfret, " he is a precious 
man, and has fought the Lord's battles with success!" — Zachary 
replied, by calling Oliver and all his crew, a company of dastardly 
cowards; putting his lordship in mind, also, that talking bred de 
lays, and that delays were dangerous ! " Therefore," says he, 
" out with your purse this moment, or I shall out with your soul — 
if you have any." 


The earl, however, still delaying, Howard dismounted him, hy 
shooting his horse, and then took from him a purse full of broad 
pieces of gold, and a rich diamond ring ; then, making him mount 
behind his man, he tied them back to back, and in that condition 
left them. 

Fairfax, who was also general of the Parliament army after 
Essex, being with some forces in Northumberlandshire, happened 
to take up his own quarters at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, at a tirfte 
that Howard was at the same town. It came to the captain's w, 
that Fairfax was about sending a man to his lady with some plate, 
which had been presented to him by the mayor and aldermen of 
that corporation ; so that when the day came that the fellow set out 
with the prize, our highwayman also took leave of Newcastle, and 
rode after the roundhead servant. He overtook him on the road, 
and fell into deep discourse with him, about the present times, 
which Howard seemed as well pleased with as the other ; who took 
him really for an honest fellow, as he seemed, and offered still to 
bear him company. They baited, dined, supped, and lay together, 
and so continued in this friendly manner till the messenger came 
within a day's journey of £he seat where his lady resided. Next 
morning being the last day they were to be together, Howard 
thought it high time to execute his design, which he did with a great 
deal of difficulty. Being come to a proper place, Zachary pulled 
out his commission, and commanded the fellow to deliver the port- 
manteau, in which was the plate, to the value of two hundred and 
fifty pounds. The other being as resolute to preserve, as Howard 
was to take it from him, refused to comply ; whereupon a sharp 
combat ensued, in which the Captain had his horse shot under him, 
after a discharge of two or three pistols on either side. The en- 
counter still lasted : for our highwayman continued to fire on foot, 
till he shot his adversary through the head, which occasioned him 
to fall, and breathe his last in a moment. 

When Howard saw the man dead, he thought it his best way to 
get off the ground as fast as possible; so nimbly mounting the 
horse which carried the treasure, he rode about five miles from the 
place where the fact was committed, and then deposited the port- 
manteau in a hollow tree, and tranquilly went to dinner at the next 
town. From thence he made the best of his way to Farringdon in 
Berkshire, where Madam Fairfax was, and whither the fellow he 
had killed was destined. He reached there that evening, and 
delivered the following letter to the lady, which he found in the 
pockets of the deceased : — 


•• Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Aug. 1650. 
My dear, 

Hoping that you and my daughter Elizabeth are in good 
health, this comes to acquaint you that my presence is so agreeable 
to the inhabitants of this place, that their mayor and aldermen 
have presented me with a large quantity of plate, which I have 
sent to you by my man Thomas, a new servant ; whom I would 
have you treat very kindly, he being recommended to me by seve- 
ral gentlemen, as a very honest, worthy man. The Lord be 
praised, I am very well, and earnestly long for the happiness of 
enjoying your company, which I hope to do within this month or 
five weeks at farthest. In the mean time, 1 subscribe myself. 
Your loving husband, till death, 

The lady, learning by the contents, that a parcel of plate had 
been sent by the bearer, enquired of him where it was. Her sup- 
posed man readily told her that he was in danger of being robbed 
on such a heath, by suspicious persons ; and therefore, Jest he 
should meet with the same men again, or others lik* 1 them, he had 
lodged his charge in the hands of a substantial inn-keeper, at such 
a town ; from whence he could fetch it in two davs. This afFectat ; on 
of carelessness pleased his new mistress very much, and confirmed 
the character which her husband had given him; so that she treated 
him tenderly, and desired he would go to bed betimes, tnat he 
might rest after the fatigue of travelling. 

The whole family at this time consisted only of the lady, her 
daughter, two maids, and two men servants. No sooner were all 
these gone to repose, than Howard arose, dressed himself, and with 
sword and pistol in hand, went into the servants' apartments, whom 
he threatened with instant death if they made the least noise. He 
tied all four with the bed cords, and then gagged them. He next 
went to Mrs. Fairfax's chamber, and served her and her daughter 
as he had done the servants. Having committed these vile acts, 
and taken political revenge, he proceeded to make a strict scrutiny 
into the trunks, boxes, and chests of drawers; in all which he found 
two thousand broad pieces of gold, and some silver; when he rode 
off for his portmanteau in the tree, which he also found, and car- 
ried off. 

Shortly after this, a proclamation was issued out by the Common- 
wealth, promising five hundred pounds to any one who should 
apprehend the offender; whereupon, to avoid being taken, Zachary 
tied into Ireland, where he pursued his former courses; till being 


grown as notorious there, as in England, he thought it advisable 
to return. He landed at Highlake ; and came to the city of Chester, 
at a time that Oliver Cromwell lay there with a party of horse, and 
even put up at the same inn ; where he passed for a gentleman 
going to travel into foreign countries for improvement. 

He, moreover, counterfeited himself a Round-head, and frequent- 
ly spoke against the royal family, highly applauding the murder of 
King Charles the First. By this means, he got familiar with*^ 
Cromwell, who was so pleased with his conversation, that he would 
seldom dine or sup without this daring adventurer. 

About a fortnight after this acquaintance between them had com- 
menced, Howard went, one morning early, to pay old Noll (a nick- 
name, bestowed at that period, on the Protector,) a visit in his 
bed-chamber, which happened to be on the same floor with his own. 
He found easy admittance; when Cromwell desired that he would 
join in prayers with him. Zachary most cheerfully consented; but 
no sooner was Cromwell on his marrow-bones, than he knocked 
him still lower with the butt-end of a pistol, presenting it afterwards 
to his breast, and swearing that, if he did but attempt to make tne 
least noise, he would shoot him through the heart, thougn he wer«j 
sure to be hanged for it the next minute on the landlord s sign- 

These terrifying words so panic-struck the republican . that he 
permitted his assaulter to do what he pleased ; who, in good truth, 
gagged and bound him hand and foot; after which, he rifled two 
trunks, from whence he took about eleven hundred jacobusses; and 
then, to satisfy his burning revenge, took a well filled pan of water 
that stood in the room, and placed it topsy-turvy on the protector's 
head, saying — " As, no doubt, thou aspirest to be king, thus do 1 
crown thee, tyrant as thou art!" 

Having finished, he went hastily down stairs, and mounted his 
horse, which he had before ordered to be ready, under pretence of 
some urgent business a few miles out of town. 

By this means Howard got clear off, before Oliver could make 
any body hear by his knocking. 

At last, several of the family went up stairs, and were guided 
by the noise to the poor general, whom they found in the miserable 
pickle before described, and unable to stir. Some of them, at the 
first sight thought he had put on his head piece ; till the water which 
ran down his face and shoulders, convinced them to the contrary, 
and induced them speedily to unbind him. 

As soon as he was loose he fell on his knees, and gave thanks 


for so signal a deliverance from the fury of a wicked cavalier ; for 
such he believed Howard. 

Our Captain enjoyed his liberty but a very little time after this 
exploit ; for venturing, one day, to attack half a-dozen republican 
officers together, as they were riding over Blackheath, he was over- 
powered; and, though he vigorously defended himself, so as to 
kill one, and wound two more, he was at last taken by the remain- 
ing three. These were soon assisted by several passengers, who 
joined in taking this bold robber before a magistrate; and he was 
forthwith committed to Maidstone gaol. Thither Oliver went to 
see and insult him ; but to all which Howard replied with his usual 
bravery and wit, to the utter confusion of Noll. 

On his trial at the ensuing assizes, evidences enough appeared 
to convict him, although he had possessed twenty lives. Not only 
the officers who took him, but even Cromwell, and General Fair- 
fax's wife and daughter gave in their depositions, besides a vast 
number of others whom he had robbed. So that he was sentenced, 
for two murders, and numberless robberies, to be hung till he was 

At the place of execution, apparelled in white, he confessed 
himself guilty of everything laid to his charge ; but declared he 
was sorry for nothing but the murders he had committed. Yet, 
even these, he said, appeared to him the less criminal, when he 
considered the persons on whom they were acted. He professed 
further, that if he was pardoned, and at liberty again, he would 
never leave off robbing the Round-heads, so long as there were any 
of them left in England. 

What was the most remarkable at Howard's death, was, his 
smiling contemptuously on Oliver, who came into the country on 
purpose to see the last of him ; saying, that, if he, Oliver, had met 
his reward, he had been in the same circumstances several years 

Howard made his final exit in 1651-2; being no more thacr 
thirty-two years of age. 


We have this criminal's own authority for saying that he was the 
son of a rich grazier in Norfolk, who dying in his infancy, the 
child suffered the loss of a paternal inheritance, through the villaiav 


of those who were entiusted as guardians. They, however, at 
proper age, apprenticed Nathaniel to an upholsterer, with whom 
he faithfully served the first four years : but at the end of that period, 
finding a relish in the pleasures of libertinism, he greatly increased 
his connexions with the vicious and the profligate of either sex : 
and this unfortunate arrangement it was that drove him to the fatal 
necessity of raising supplies beyond the limits of honour and 

His master naturally became the first sufferer; nor was he dis-' 
covered for a considerable time ; till the largeness of his demands 
induced him to dip so very deeply, that an explanation was at length 
the unavoidable consequence. The shame and confusion which 
attended this serious eclaircissement was quickly obliterated in the 
haunts of licentiousness, whither he continued to repair, in spite 
of his master's admonitions, and in defiance of his positive orders 
to the contrary ; for Nat, when all other opportunities were shut 
up, frequently arose, as soon as he conjectured that the family 
were asleep ; and, unlocking the street door, repaired to his boon 
companions, with whom he usually continued till within an hour 
before the ascending sun silenced their nocturnal revels. 

When vices of this kind obtain ascendancy over a young person, 
in the progressive stages from sixteen to three or four and twenty 
the consequences, without some fortunate intervention, are almost 
always of a melancholy nature. Persuasion, and particularly ex- 
ample, are the bane of rash and unguarded youth; who, after 
stifling the first pangs which obtrude at the loss of character and 
reputation, are incapable of seeing the turpitude of their trans- 
actions ; transactions on which they had meditated with horror 
while the mind was un vitiated. 

We have already said enough of Hawes to prepare our readers 
for the next event to be recorded in the sketch. Having now less 
access to his master's property, he perpetrated a street robbery : 
but was detected, and committed to prison, where he lay several 
months, previous to the Assizes ; when he was found guilty : but, 
in compassion to his youth, the Judge humanely granted him a 

It does not appear whether his master, or his guardians, exerted 
their efforts, at this critical period, to bring about a change of 
principle: but, for the sake of humanity, let us suppose that nei- 
ther the one nor the other were, in this respect, deficient. Certain 
however it is, that Nathaniel most grossly abused the lenity which 
he had received from the Court, by almost instantly returning to 


his old companions and to his old vices — Drinking, gaming, and 
the society of abandoned women, forming the whole routine of 
their happiness ; if that can be called happiness which produces 
pain, vexation, disappointment, and disease ; to say nothing of 
those imminent dangers which attend the raising of supplies. 

Young Hawes was naturally vivacious, sprightly, and daring ; 
qualities which endeared him to the females, and rendered him 
useful to the other sex ; with whom he now undertook several ex- 
cursions on the road, for the purpose of supplying demands, whose 
magnitude would have perplexed less diligent financiers. Na- 
thaniel's courage was often put severely to the test; and we must 
do him the justice to say, that, in this respect, he greatly excelled 
the stoutest of his coadjutors; who, unable to imitate, bestowed 
on him the most preposterous commendation. By such means he 
was easily prevailed upon to undertake any thing which they pro- 
posed, however badly devised, or dangerously planned : and the 
unfortunate youth, at length, became so ridiculously elate, that 
he but too often grossly abused and injured those whom he 
had so cruelly pilfered. 'This might probably arise,' says one of 
his predecessors, 'from his whimsical notions!' Led on by these 
whimsicalities, which doubtless comprehended an idea of invulner- 
ability, Nathaniel Hawes hesitated not to attack singly a carriage 
filled with gentlemen, whether armed or not; to stop, at the same 
instant, two or three travellers on horseback ; or to rummage the 
waggons in a successive line, as they passed the Oxford road to- 
wards London : and, though now and then apprehended, the 
county prisons were by no means strong enough to secure him till 
the day of trial. In proportion, however, as he transferred the 
theatre of spoliation nearer the metropolis, his dangers seem to 
have multiplied: for, being committed to New Prison, on sus- 
picion of robbing a gentleman on the Hampstead road, he found 
that solemn receptacle constructed on different principles than 
those gaols which he had formerly eluded. Like an experienced 
General, he continued to reconnoitre, as long as hope or possibility 
remained : but, by a kind of sympathy, contracting an acquaint- 
ance with a female shop-lifter confined in the same place, that lady 
communicated to Nathaniel and another, a feasible project for pro- 
curing the invaluable blessings of liberty; and having, before 
commitment, hid under her stays a variety of necessary imple- 
ments, they one night proceeded from theory to practice ; when at 
two in the morning, those determined enemies of coercion bid 
adieu to the solitarv environs of Clerkenweil. 


Hawes, being in consequence reduced to a cutting state of pov 
erty, committed a variety of depredations to supply the exigencies 
of the moment; and, by degrees, arriving again at the dignity 0/ 
highwayman, he repaired to Finchley Common, and robbed one 
Richard Hall of four shillings and his horse. He was, however, 
shortly afterwards apprehended for this fact, and securely lodged in 
Newgate; where he affected the pomposity of a great man reduced 
by the vicissitudes of Madam Fortune ; declaring he would con- 
duct himself more nobly than any gentleman who had died at 
Tyburn within the last seven years I But this kind of incoherent 
expressions rather excited pity than admiration : it was vanity run 
mad with vengeance ! 

Nathaniel, when arraigned at the Old Bailey— in conformity to 
his heroic declarations, — refused to plead, because a good suit of 
clothes had been taken from him, by which means he could not 
cut a respectable figure in the Court. And though the Judge re- 
proved him in a pathetic speech, and laid down the consequences 
of his refusal, our hero insultingly answered • That, instead of 
justice, he was likely to receive injustice; but therefore doubted 
not that they would, some time or other undergo a heavier sentence 
than could be inflicted on him : — that, for his part, he looked on 
death with disdain ; being determined to leave the world as cou- 
rageously as he had lived in it !' 

Nathan highly congratulated himself on this heroic effort; pri- 
vately confessing to some Newgate friends, that he had complained 
of the loss of his clothes in order to seize on a pretence for shewing 
how excellently he merited the character of an intrepid hero, that 
Gentlemen of the Road, in succeeding ages, might pay the just 
tribute due to his memory. Under this very laudable impression, 
he actually sustained on his breast a weight of two hundred and 
fifty pounds upwards of seven minutes, all that time admiring what 
had been related of the indifference of a certain French lacquey, 
who danced a minuet just before he expired on the wheel ! a cir- 
cumstance which excited universal astonishment in France, and 
stimulated the Due de Rochfoucault, though very ridiculously, to 
make a comparison between that criminal and the Roman Patriot 

Hawes, when seven minutes had expired, fearing that a longer 
perseverance would rob him of that popularity which he expected 
to derive at the gallows, consented to plead ; when the weight was 
accordingly removed : but the inward bruises which resulted, gaV6 
him such excessive pain, that Nathan, in some sort, laid that 


greatness aside which he purposed to be observed. He nevertne- 
less, heard his sentence pronounced with firmness ; confessed, 
afterwards, some of the numerous villanies committed by him; 
particularly two or three in which innocent persons were implicated : 
attended the Chapel devotions, contrary to general expectation ; 
and made exit at Tyburn in September 1721, when scarcely twenty 
years of age ! — Let us drop the tear of pity on his fate ; and 
leave the reader of feeling to make his own comments on the de- 
pravity of human nature, and the high degree of weakness and 
vitiation which it is possible for the mind of mortals to obtain ! 


The first of these notorious malefactors was born at Ware, in 
Hertfordshire, and, by his parents, was put an apprentice to a 
bricklayer; but after he had served his time, being of a slothful 
and idle disposition, he kept such company as soon brought him to 
follow evil courses; and to support his extravagancy in a most 
riotous way of living, he stole a horse out of the Duke of Beau- 
fort's stables, at his seat at Badminton, in Gloucestershire ; and 
then going on the highway, he committed several most notorious 
robberies for above 18 years ; but he always robbed in woman's 
apparel, which disguise was the means of his reigning so long in 
his villainy. Whenever he was pursued, he then rid astride ; but 
at last being apprehended in this unlawful habit, for robbing a 
person on Hounslow-heath, of a quantity of bone-lace, to the 
value of 1,200£. sterling, he was condemned for this fact, and found 
guilty also upon another indictment preferred against him for rob- 
bing another person, near Barnet, of eighty-four pounds nine shill- 
ings. He was executed at Tyburn, on Friday, the 24th of October, 
1699, aged 40 years. 

At the same place, were hanged Mercy Harvey, for murdering 
her bastard male child, by cutting it into very small pieces: 
Anne Henderson, a Scotch woman, for stealing a silver tankard; 
Bryant Cane, for felony and burglary, in breaking open the house 
of Mr. Baker, at Mary-le-bone, and robbing it, and gagging him 
and all the servants in his family ; John Dowbridge, a butcher, for 
stealing a mare ; Jane Eaton, aged nineteen, and Catherine Jones, 
for breaking the house of one John Prescot, and stealing from 


thence goods of great value. The following persons, viz. — Peter 
Vallard, a Frenchman, Thomas Rogers, and Thomas Castle, alias 
Cassey, were drawn on a sledge to Tyburn, were the two first were 
hanged and quartered for clipping and coining; but the other 
criminal, the night before his exeoution, so far obtained their 
majesty's clemency, as to be but only hanged. 

Frank Osborn was born of very good friends at Colchester, in 
Essex, who putting him apprentice to a goldsmith in Lombard- 
street, in London, he very truly and honestly served out his ap- 
prenticeship, and then set up his trade himself in Cannon-street, in 
the City, where he followed it for seven years ; but he had not been 
his own master above two years, when getting into very loose com- 
pany, who all bred him to drunkenness and gaming, he ran very 
much behind hand, and contracted several debts ; which coming 
thick upon him, to make his creditors easy he went on the highway; 
and meeting once with the Earl of Albemarle in his coach and six 
horses, between Harwich and Manningtree, in the county of Essex, 
with four footmen and two gentlemen on horseback to attend 
him, besides the coachman and postillion, he attempted, with only 
one person more, to rob his lordship. So, whilst his comrade 
stopped the coach-horses, he rode up to his lordship, and demanded 
his money. The attendants seeing the insolence of these bold 
robbers, who being but two, they thought it would seem a great 
piece of cowardice if they did not engage them; whereupon one of 
the gentlemen firing first, all the rest began, even the very coach- 
man and postillion too, who had pistols in their pockets. Now the 
shot flying about the highwaymen's ears very thick, whilst the earl 
also discharged a blunderbuss out of his coach, but without doing 
any execution, they also fired as fast as they could, but with better 
aim and better success : for in discharging of about eight pistols, 
they shot both the horses of the two gentlemen dead, wounded two 
of the footmen very desperately, and the postillion, with the fore- 
horse on which he rode. Then riding up to the earl again, they 
grossly abused him with ill language, and threatened to shoot him 
through the head unless he presently delivered what he had, he 
gave them a purse, in which was 130 guineas, a gold watch, a dia- 
mond ring, a pair of diamond buckles, and a gold snuff-box. But 
whilst they were rifling a trunk that was tied on the coach-box, six 
or seven officers of the army rode up towards them, when Frank 
Osborn and his comrade made the best of their way off; but when 
those gentlemen came up with the Earl of Albemarle, and were 
informed of the robbery, thev made such close pursuit after the 


robbers that they were forced to ride into Manningtree river, in 
which one of them was drowned, and also his horse ; but Frank 
swam safe over into the county of Suffolk, and went straight to 
London without any discovery. 

Another time Frank Osborn meeting with the late Duke of New- 
castle, when his grace was but Earl of Clare, on the road to Nott- 
ingham, riding up to his coach, and most courteously pulling off 
his hat, quoth he, ** My lord, having heard from several creditable 
persons, what a charitable peer your honour is, in distributing 
your generous alms among decayed gentlemen ; and it being my 
misfortune, through many losses and crosses in the world, to be 
reduced to a state poorer than even Job was in his greatest calami- 
ty, I humbly make bold to implore your lordship's benevolence, 
for which I shall be ever grateful the longest day I have to live." 
Now, this nobleman being not to be tongue-padded out of his 
money, he in a very angry mood said to Frank, " Prithee, fellow, 
don't stand talking to me of charitable alms and benevolence, for 
I know not what you mean by those canting words ; therefore, go 
about your business, for, indeed, I have nothing at all for myself 
scarce, and much less for beggars." Quoth Frank again, " I am 
not, Sir, such a mean sort of a beggar as your lordship perhaps may 
take me to be ; for what people will not give me by fair means, I 
always takeaway by foul ones." So pulling out a pistol, and pre- 
senting it to his lordship's breast, he farther said, " unless your 
lordship presently deliver your money, expect nothing but present 
death, for 1 will certainly shoot you through the body upon the 
very least refusal." So taking four hundred pounds out of his 
coach and wishing his lordship a good journey, he rode away with 
his booty. 

He reigned about five years in this villainous practice, without 
the least mistrust among his neighbours, who took him for a very 
honest man, because he carried himself with the greatest circum- 
spection imaginable ; but at last he and three other highwaymen, 
setting upon a nobleman on Hounslow-heath k who had a great 
retinue with him, they made such an obstinate and resolute resis- 
tance against them, that they took Frank Osborn; but his other 
accomplices made their escape, whom he would never discover to 
the very last gasp. Being committed to Newgate, and condemned 
for this attempt, whilst he lay under sentence of death, he shewed 
not much penitence for the wicked courses he had took, but would 
often say, that he was very sorry that he had disgraced so good and 
ingenious a profession as his was ; and on Friday the 12th of Sep- 


tember, 1690, he was executed at Tyburn, aged 29 years. Also 
on the same day were executed with him William Goff, a trooper, 
who served the late King James and King William, for robbing on 
the highway; Thomas Yarrold, a husbandman, born at Ampthill- 
town, in Bedfordshire, for stealing a gelding; John Daynter, a 
shoe-maker, for breaking into the house of Mr. Yates, and stealing 
thence a silver tankard, a dozen of silver spoons, and twenty-one 
pounds in money; and James Smith, for robbing a gentleman i*i 
the highway of twenty-eight guineas and two gold rings. When 
he was tied up in order to receive the sentence of death, he ex- 
ceedingly misbehaved himself in court, by calling the Judges, the 
^ora-Mayor, and Recorder, most opprobious names, and swearing 
propnane oaths, in which wicked obstinancy he continued till he 
was hanged. 


In general, the biographers of rogues and vagabonds give theii 
heroes a title to wit and ingenuity very far beyond the abilities of 
the scoundrels they record; to this, in a great measure, is owing 
the difficulty of finding out, and appreciating as they merit, genuine 
anecdotes of the characters delineated. If any man becomes dis- 
tinguished by crime, a hundred stories are immediately put in 
circulation, attributing matters to his invention, to which he was 
not only incompetent, but absolutely a stranger to the very cir- 
cumstances related. 

One of this description appears to have been James Whitney, who, 
in addition to his own depredations, has the credit of many he never 
probably committed. He was born at Stevenage, in Hertfordshire, 
and, when fit for servitude, was apprenticed to a butcher, with whom 
he continued until the expiration of his time ; but no sooner did he 
become his own master, than he gave way to a very irregular course 
of life. 

Going with another butcher to Romford, in Essex, in order to 
buy calves, they met with one they had a particular fancy to; but 
the owner demanded what they thought an extravagant price for it, 
so that they could not strike a bargain; however, as the man kept 
a public-house, our companions agreed to go in and drink with him. 
They were much vexed at not being able to purchase the calf, when 


Whitnev suddenly proposed the stealing of it, to which the other 
consenting, they sat drinking till night. 

In the evening, a fellow came into the town with a great she-bear, 
which he carried about for a show, and put up at the house where 
the two butchers were drinking in an inner room ; the landlord was 
some time before he could contrive where to lodge the bear, but at 
last he resolved to move the calf into another out-house, and tie 
madam Bruin up in his place, which was done accordingly, without 
the knowledge of Whitney and his friend, who continued drinking 
till they were told it was time to go to bed. Upon this warning they 
paid their reckoning, and went out, staying in the fields near the 
town till they imagined the time favoured their design. The night 
was very dark, and they came to the stall without making any noise 
or disturbance ; Whitney was to go in and fetch out the calf, while 
the other watched without; when he entered he felt about, till he 
got hold of the bear, which lying after the sluggish manner peculiar 
to those creatures, he began to tickle it to make it rise ; at last, 
being awaked, the beast being muzzled, rose up on her hind legs, 
not knowing but it was her master going to show her; Whitney 
still continued feeling about, wondering at the length of the calf's 
hair, and that he should stand in such a posture, till the bear cau ht 
hold of him and hugged him fast between her fore-feet. 

In this posture he remained, unable to remove, and afraid to cry 
out, till the other butcher, wondering at his long stay, put his head 
in at the door, and said, with a low voice, M What the plague, will 
you be all night stealing a calf!" " A calf I" quoth Whitney, " I 
believe it is the devil that 1 am going to steal, for he hugs me as 
closely as he does the witch in the statue." " Let it be the devil," 
says t'other; " bring him out, however, that we may see what he 
is like, which is something I should be very glad to know." Whit- 
ney was too much surprised to be pleased with the jesting of his 
companion, so that he replied with some choler, " Come and fetch 

him yourself for may I be d d if I half like him." Hereupon 

the other entered, and, after a little examination, found how they 
were bit. By his assistance Whitney got loose, and they both 
swore they would never attempt to steal calves any more. 

Whitney, after this, took the George Inn, at Cheshunt, in Hert- 
fordshire, where, for a time, he entertained all sorts of bad com- 
pany ; but this speculation not answering, in a little time he was 
compelled to shut up his house, and retreat to London, where he 
began to practice every sort of fraud and villainy. It was some 
time before he took to the highway, following only the common 


tricks practised by the sharpers of the town, in which he was the 
more successful, as he always went dressed like a gentleman. 

One morning, as Whitney stood on Ludgate-hill, at a mercer's 
door, waiting for a friend whom he expected to come by, two ladies 
of the town came along; these ladies took our gentleman for the 
master of the shop, and supposing he would be an easy dupe, 
asked him if he had any fine silks of the newest fashion; Whitney 
readily replied, " that he had none by him at present he could*, 
recommend ; but, in a day or two's time, he should have choice, 
several weavers being to bring him in pieces, made from the last 
fashions brought up, and begged to know where he might have the 
honour to wait on them with samples," to which one of the ladies 
replied, " that being newly come to town, they did not remember 
the name of the street; but it was not far off, and if he pleased to 
go with them, they would show him their habitation." Whitney 
politely consented, and, to make the affair appear with a better 
face, he stepped into the shop, as if he went to give orders to the 
shopman, to whom he only put a few trifling questions, and came 
out again unsuspected. Having accompanied the ladies home, he 
very civilly offered to take his leave of them. " Nay r Sir," says 
one of them, " but you shall walk in and take a glass of wine with 
us, since you have been so good as to give yourself all this trouble." 
Whitney thanked them, and, with abundance of complaisance, 
accepted the invitation. 

Hitherto both parties were deceived; Whitney really took them 
for gentlewomen of fortune, and came home with them only to learn 
something that might forward him to make a prey of them; and they 
as confidently believed him to be the mercer, who owned the shop 
at which they picked him up. Their designs were to get his money 
out of his pocket, and, if they could, a suit or two of silk into the 
bargain. What confirmed them in this opinion was, the notice he 
took of several gentlemen as he passed along the street, by pulling 
off his hat to them, and their returning the compliment. — Whitney 
did it for this very purpose, and it is natural and common for men 
of fashion to return the salutation of those who notice them. 

The ladies introduced the supposed mercer into an apartment 
splendidly furnished, where the table was instantly spread with a 
fine cold collation. This being over, the servant and one of the 
ladies withdrew, leaving the other alone with our adventurer, who 
soon discovered the drift of her ladyship; but, willing to keep on 
the mask, after many amorous professions, promised her as much 
silk as would make her a complete dress. 


Whitney was so well pleased with his adventure and reception at 
tnis place, that he was resolved, if possible, to have a little more 
enjoyment, and to that end went to a mercer, and told him, that 
sucn a lady had sent him, to desire that he would send one of his 
men with two or three pieces of the richest silk he had, for her to 
choose a gown and petticoat. The mercer knowing the person of 
quality he named, she having been his customer before, and without 
mistrusting any thing, sent a youth, who was but newly come 
apprentice, telling him the prices in Whitney's hearing. Our 
adventurer led the lad through as many bye-streets as he could, in 
order to carry him out of his knowledge, till observing a house in 
Suffolk-street, which had a thoroughfare into Hedge-lane, he desired 
the young man to stay at the door, while he carried in the silks to 
shew them to the lady, who lodged there; the youth very readily 
agreed, and Whitney went into the house, and asked the people 
for somebody whom they did not know ; and, upon their telling him 
no such person lived in that neighbourhood, he desired leave to go 
through, which was granted, and he got clear off with his prize, 
which he immediately carried to his two ladies, and divided between 
them. After which, he revelled with them in all manner of excess 
for several days, and then withdrew himself. 

He was resolved, however, that nobody but himself should enjoy 
the fruit of his industry, and since he could not have the profit of 
his cheat, he thought proper to restore the mercer his goods again. 
He therefore wrote a letter as to where the women lived, and the 
shop-keeper, getting a warrant and constable, went and found the 
silks in their possession ; all the excuse they could make, as to re- 
ceiving them from the real owner, availed nothing ; they were hurried 
before a magistrate, who committed them to Tothill-fields Bride- 
well, where their backs were covered with stripes of the cat-and- 
nine-tails, instead of the eleemosynary silks, which they made so 
sure of. 

Whitney had now become a confirmed highwayman, and meeting 
a gentleman on Bagshot-heath, he commanded him to stand and 
deliver, to which the other replied, " Sir> His well you spoke first; 
for 1 was just going to say the same thing to you." " Why, are 
you a gentleman thief then?" quoth Whitney. " Yes," said the 
stranger, " but I have had very bad success to-day." Whitney 
upon this wished him better luck, and took his leave, really suppos- 
ing him to be what he pretended. At night it was the fortune of 
Whitney and this person to put up at the same inn, when our gen- 
tleman told some other travellers by w»hat stratagem he had escaped 


being robbed on the road. Whitney had so altered his habit and 
speech, that the gentleman did not know him again ; so that he 
heard all the story without being taken any notice of. Among other 
things, he heard him tell one of the company softly, that he had 
saved an hundred pounds by his contrivance. The person to whom 
he had whispered this, was going the same way the next morning, 
and said, he had also a considerable sum about him, and, if he 
pleased, should be glad to travel with him for security. S 

When morning came, the travellers set out, and Whitney about 
a quarter of an hour after them ; all the discourse of the gentlemen 
was about cheating the highwayman, if they should meet any. 
When Whitney, at a convenient place, had got before them and 
bid them stand, the gentleman whom he met before not knowing 
him, he having disguised himself after another manner, briskly 
cried out, " We were going to say the same to you, Sir." " Were 
you so ?" quoth Whitney, " and are you of my profession then ?" 
" Yes," said they both, " If you are," replied Whitney, " I sup- 
pose you remember the old proverb, two of a trade can never agree, 
so that you must not expect any favour on that score. But to be 
plain, gentlemen, the trick will do no longer ; 1 know you very 
well, and must have your hundred pounds, Sir; and your consider- 
able sum, Sir," turning to the other, " let it be what it will, or I 
shall make bold to send a brace of bullets through each of your 
heads. You, Mr. Highwayman, should have kept your secret a 
little longer, and not have boasted so soon of having outwitted a 
thief; there is now nothing for you to do, but deliver or die!" 

These terrible words put them both into a sad consternation: they 
were loth to lose their money, but more loth to lose their lives : so 
of two evils they chose the least, the tell-tale coxcomb disbursing 
his hundred pounds, and the other a somewhat larger sum, profess- 
ing that they would be careful for the future not to count without 
their host. 

Another time, Whitney met with one Mr. Hull, an old usurei, 
in the Strand, as he was riding across Hounslow-heath. He could 
hardly have chosen a wretch more in love with money ; and, con- 
sequently, who would have been more unwilling to have parted 
with it. When the dreadful words were spoken, he trembled like a 
paralytic, and fell to expostulating the case in the most moving 
expressions he was master of, professing that he was a very poor 
man, had a large family of children, and should be utterly ruined, 
if he was so hard-hearted as to take his money from him. He added, 
moreover, the illegality of such an action, and hoy very dangerous 


it was to engage in such evil courses. Whitney, who knew him, 
tiled out in a great passion : " Sirrah, do you pretend to preach 
morality to an honester man than yourself; you who make a prey of 
all mankind, and grind to death with eight and ten percent. This 
once, however, Sir, I shall oblige you to lend me what you have 
without bond, consequently without interest; so make no more 

Old Hull, hereupon, pulled out about eighteen guineas, which 
he gave with a great deal of grumbling; telling him withal, that 
he should see him one time or another ride up Holborn-hill back- 
wards. Whitney was going about his business till he heard these 
words, when he returned, and pulled the old gentleman off his 
horse, putting him on again with his face towards the horse's tail, 
and tying his legs; c< Now," says he, " you old rogue, let me see 
what a figure a man makes when he rides backwards, and let me 
have the pleasure, at least of beholding you first in that posture." 
So giving the horse three or four good cuts with his whip, he set 
him a running so fast, that he never stopt till he came to Hounslow 
town, where the people loosed our gentleman, after they had made 
themselves a little merry with the sight. 

Whitney always affected to appear generous and noble; meeting 
one day with a gentleman on Newmarket-heath, whose name was 
Long, and having robbed him of a hundred pounds in silver, which 
was in his portmanteau, tied up in a great bag, the gentleman told 
him, that he had a great way to go, and, as he was unknown upon 
the road, should meet with many difficulties, if he did not restore 
as much as would bear his expences. Whitney opened the mouth 
of the bag, and holding it to Mr. Long, " Here," says he, " take 
what you have occasion for." Mr. Long put in his hand, and took 
out as much as he could hold : to which Whitney made no opposition, 
but only said with a smile, " I thought you would have had more 
conscience, Sir." 

Coining once to Doncaster, he put up at the Red Lion Inn, and 
made a great figure, having a pretty round sum in his possession. 
While he resided here, he was informed that the landlord of the 
house was reputed rich, but withal so covetous, that he would do 
nothing to help a poor relation or neighbour in distress. On this 
Whitney set his wits to work, and gave out that he had a good 
estate, and travelled about the country merely for his pleasure, and 
io artfully insinuated himself into the good opinion of his host, that 
he ran most plentifully into his debt, both for his own accommoda- 
tion, and the keep of his horse. 


It happened that whiie he remained here, there was an annual 
fair held; upon the fair-day, in the morning, a small box, carefully 
sealed, and very weighty, came directed to him. He opened it, 
took out a letter, which he read, and locked it up, and gave it to 
his landlady, desiring her to keep it in her custody for the present, 
because it would be safer than in his own hands, and ordered the 
landlord, at the same time, to write out his bill, that he might pay 
him the next morning ; as soon as he had done this, he went oufcf, 
as though to see the fair. In the afternoon he came home again, 
in a great hurry, and desired his horse might be dressed and saddled, 
he having a mind to show him in the fair, and, if he could, to ex- 
change him for one he had seen, and which he thought was the 
finest that ever he fixed his eyes on. " I will have him," says he, 
" if possible, whether the owner will buy mine or not, although 
he cost me forty guineas;'* he then asked for his landlady to help 
him to his box, but she was gone to the fair; whereupon he fell a 
swearing like a madman, that he supposed she had locked up what 
he gave her, and taken the keys with her ; " If she has," quoth he, 
" I had rather have given ten guineas, for I have no money at all, 
but what is in your possession." Enquiry was made, and it was 
found to be as he said, which put him into a still greater passion, 
though it was what he wished for, and even expected, the whole 
having been invented for the sake of this single scene. 

The landlord quickly had notice of our gentleman's anger, and 
the occasion of it; upon which he comes to him, and begs of him to 
be easy, offering to lend him the sum he wanted, till his wife came 
home. Whitney seemed to resent it highly, that he must be obliged 
to borrow money when he had so much of his own ; however, as 
there was no other way, he condescended, with abundance of reluc- 
tance, to accept the proposal; adding, that he desired an account 
of all he was indebted as soon as possible, as it was not his custom 
to run hand over head. 

Having received forty guineas, the sum he pretended to want, 
he mounted his horse, and rode towards the fair, but instead of 
dealing there for another horse, he spurred his own through the 
crowd, as fast as he could conveniently, and made the best of his 
way towards London. At night the people of the inn sat up very 
late for his coming home, nor did they suspect any thing the first, 
or even the second night, but at the end of two or three days the 
landlord was a little uneasy; and, after he had waited a week to 
no purpose, it came into his head to break open the box, in order 
to examine it. With this view he went to the magistrate of the 


place, procured his warrant, and, in presence of a constable and 
other witnesses, broke open the casket, and was ready to hang 
himself when he found the contents to be nothing but sand and 

This was, however, the last of Whitney's adventures, for not 
long after his arrival in town he was apprehended in White Friars, 
upon the information of Mother Cozens, who kept a notorious house 
in Milford-lane, over against St. Clement's Church. The magis- 
trate, who took the information, committed him to Newgate, where 
he remained till the next sessions at the Old Bailey. Being brought 
to trial, and found guilty, the Recorder passed sentence of death 
on him, and exhorted him to a sincere repentance, as it was impos- 
sible for him to hope for a reprieve, after such a course of villainies; 
and, on Wednesday, the 19th of December, 1694, he was carrier 
to the place of execution, which was at Porter's Block, near Smith- 
field, where he addressed the people in the following words: — 

" I have been a very great offender, both against God and my 
Country, by transgressing all laws, human and divine. I believe 
there is not one here present, but has often heard my name, before 
my confinement, and have seen a large catalogue of my crimes, 
which has been made public since; — why should I then pretend to 
vindicate a life stained with so many enormous deeds ? — The sen- 
tence passed on me is just, and I can see the footsteps of a provi- 
dence, which I had before profanely laughed at, in my apprehension 
and conviction. I hope the sense which I have of these things has 
enabled me io make my peace with heaven, the only thing that is 
now of any concern to me. Join in your prayers with me, my 
dear countrymen, that God would not forsake me in my last, mo- 
ments." Having spoke thus, and afterwards spent a few moments 
in private devotion, he was turned off, being about thirty-four years 
of age. 

A portrait of this celebrated highwayman, seated in prison, en- 
graved at the time, is now become extremely rare and valuable. 
It has been copied in Caulfield's Memoirs of Remarkable Persons, 
Vol. I. page 57. From the portrait, he appears to have been a 
remarkably gentlemanly good looking young man. 


In the years 1722 and 1723, a singular set of beings, uuaet .ne 
denomination of Waltham Blacks, annoyed the peace of society. 


the laws, then, being ^adequate to the punishment of these ui- 
fenders. It originated from a partiality which some of the lower 
orders entertained for venison; an article which, as this banditti 
could not purchase, they resolved to obtain by force. 

At length, these convivial societies so far increased, that the 
members scoured the country in armed troops, having their faces 
blackend by way of honorary distinction and also to terrify such 
game-keepers, and others, who would not civilly administer to 
their demands, whether for venison, wine, money, or any neces-» 
sary that was calculated to increase the hilarity of their stated 

Threatening letters were also dispatched to several individuals, 
who had shewed a reluctance to contribute towards the joys of the 
table. This grievance at length grew so intolerable, that the 
Legislature was constrained to frame an act particularly directed 
to the remedy of these abuses ; and rendering the crime capital, 
which these gentry committed, without benefit of Clergy. 

Several, and among them some apparently unfortunate persons, 
were in consequence apprehended ; and among whom, the follow- 
ing suffered death. — Richard Parvin, master of a public-house at 
Portsmouth, who owned that he was on the King's Forest at the 
time stated in the indictment, but declared that his business there 
had no reference to deer-stealing ; which, he said, he could have 
proved by witnesses, if his family had not been reduced to poverty, 
by the seizure and confiscation of all his goods and effects, when 
first taken into custody ; in consequence of which he could not de- 
fray the expences of bringing persons from Berkshire. 

He strenuously insisted on his innocence, even under the gal- 
lows; and eagerly directed his eves in expectation of a reprieve, 
till the pressure of the rope extinguished his hopes and his life 
together. Edward Elliot, a youth about seventeen, and son of a 
tailor who resided near Guildford, was the next who suffered He 
said, in defence, that about a year preceding that time, thirty or 
forty men met and carried him away, in the county of Surrey, by 
force; one of them saying, he was enlisted into the service cf the 
King of the Blacks, and that therefore he must disguise his face 
conformable to their custom; and obey orders of whatever kind, 
whether to rob and destroy fish-ponds, burn woods, or shoot deer. 
If he failed, or proved treacherous, they promised to convert him 
into a four-footed animal by their magic art. 

During his continuance with this banditti, the boy said tut he 
had witnessed several instances of their witchcraft: once, ;j Dai- 


ticalar, two men who had offended against the laws and manners, 
were covered up to their chins in earth, when a whole posse set on 
them like so many dogs, barking and bellowing in their ears in tne 
most horrible strains : when, on promising not to offend the Black 
Nation again, they were at last liberated, having previously re- 
ceived some very salutary cautions. 

Edward Elliot being out with a small deer-stealing party, at 
Farnham Holt, had wandered from his companions in pursuit of a 
fawn, when he was surprised, taken, and bound by the keepers, 
who then left him to pursue the others. 

A smart action shortly commenced ; in which a servant belong- 
ing to Lady Howe was shot, one of the plunderers wounded in the 
thigh, and two others taken. This miserable youth, who left a 
good place for so abandoned a course of life, died full of penitence 
and contrition. 

Robert Kingsmill, taken in the fray just mentioned, was but 
twenty-six years of age ; and was seduced from his parents' house 
the preceding night only by an acquaintance, after the family, and 
even himself, had retired to bed. An unlucky adventure, which 
terminated in his death. 

Henry Marshall, about thirty-six years of age, was the person 
who shot the keeper ; as related in the sketch of Edward Elliot. 
This fellow seemed to glory in his villainy ; made light of his mur- 
derous conduct ; and demanded to know, if he had not a right to 
stand on his own and companion's defence ? 

John and Edward Pink, carters in Portsmouth, were always 
accounted extremely honest, till they imbibed a predilection for 
venison. These brothers, like many of the rest, could not be per- 
suaded that they had committed any wickedness in the eyes of 
God : deer being wild animals, they could not see by what equit- 
able right the rich could claim an exclusive property in them ! 

James Ansell, the seventh and last of these unhappy wretches, 
was a villain by profession; and, in all likelihood, would have 
found his road to the gallows, if the Black Association had never 
been instituted. All of them, except this more hardened villain, 
were so much terrified at the prospect of death, and so greatiy 
exhausted by sickness, that they were scarcely able to stand up, 
or speak, at the place of execution : some of the spectators even 
affirmed, that the life was departed ere Mr. Ketch proceeded to nis 
melancholy office. It is highly probable, however, that these mis* 
puidt-d, inconsiderate men were only — as a French poet says — 
** Dead in fancy, from a serious fear." 


The following letter written bv a Country Gentleman to 1j»s 
friend in London, at the time, and, as it were, on the spot, is the 
best elucidation of this singular event that can possibly be given 
to our Readers : — 

1 Amongst the odd accidents which you know have happened to 
me in the course of a very unsettled life, I don't know any which 
has been more extraordinary, or surprising, than one I met with 
in going down to my own house, when I left you last in town. You 
cannot but have heard of the Waltham Blacks, as they are called^" 
a set of whimsical merry fellows, that are so mad to run the greatest 
hazards for the sake of a haunch of venison, and passing a jolly 
evening together. For my part, though the stories told of these 
people have reached my ears, yet I confess I took most of them for 
fables ; and thought that, if there was truth in any of them, it was 
much exaggerated: but experience, (the mistress of fools) has 
taught me the contrary, by the adventure I am going to relate; 
which, though it ended well enough at last, I confess at first put 
me a good deal out of humour. 

1 To begin, then : — My horse got, some way, a stone in his foot, 
and therewith went so lame just as I entered the forest, that 1 really 
thought his shoulder slipped : finding it however, impossible to get 
him along, 1 was even glad to take up with a little blind ale-house, 
which I perceived had a yard and stable behind it. The man of 
the house received me very civilly, but when he perceived my horse 
was so lame, as scarcely to be able to stir a step, I observed he 
grew uneasy. I asked him whether I could lodge there that night; 
for I was resolved not to spoil a horse which cost me twenty guineas, 
by riding him in such a condition. The man made no answer ; we 
went into the house together; when 1 proposed the same question 
to the wife. She dealt more roughly and freely with me ; saying, 
that truly I neither could nor should stay there, and was for hurry 
ing her husband to get my horse out ; however, on putting a crown 
into her hand, and promising her another for my lodging, she 
began to consider a little; and, at last, told me that there was 
indeed a little bed above stairs, on which she would order a clean 
pair of sheets to be put; for she was persuaded 1 was more of a 
gentleman than to take any notice of what was passing there. 
This made me more uneasy than I was before. I concluded DOW 
that I had got into a den of highwaymen, and expected nothing 
less than to be robbed, and have my throat cut into the bargain ; 
however, finding there was no remedy, I even sat myself down, 
end endeavoured to be as easy as I could By this time . aad 


become very dark ; and I heard three or four horsemen alight and 
lead their horses into the yard. 

* As tne men returned, and were coming into the room where I sat, 
I overheard my landlord exclaiming, * Indeed, brother, you need 
not be uneasy; I am positive the gentleman's a man of honour!' 
To which I heard another voice reply, ' what good could our deaths 
do a stranger? Faith I don't apprehend half the danger that you 
do. I dare say the gentleman would be glad of our company, and 
we should be pleased with his. Come, hang fear ! I'll lead the 

1 So said, so done : in they came, five of them, all disguised so 
effectually, that I declare, unless it were in the same disguise, I 
should not be able to distinguish any one of them. Down they sat; 
and he, who I supposed was constituted their captain pro hac vice, 
accosted me with great civility, asking if I would honour them with 
my company to supper ? 1 acknowledged I did not yet guess the 
profession of my new acquaintances ; but supposing my landlord 
would be cautious of suffering either a robbery or a murder in his 
own house, I knew now how, but, by degrees, my mind grew per- 
fectly easy. 

* About ten o'clock, I heard a very great noise of horses, and soon 
after of men's feet trampling in a room over my head ; then my 
landlord came down, and informed us, supper was just ready to go 
upon the table. 

* Upon this, we were all desired to walk up ; and he, whom I be 
fore called the Captain, presented me, with a humorous kind of 
ceremony, to a man more disguised than the rest, who sat at the 
upper end of the table ; telling me, at the same time, he hoped I 
would not refuse to pay my respects to Prince Oroonoko, King 
of the Blacks ! It then immediately struck into my head, who those 
worthy persons were, into whose company I had thus accidentally 
fallen. I called myself a thousand blockheads in my mind for not 
finding it out before; but the hurry of things, or to speak truth, 
the fear I was in, prevented my j udging even from the most evident 

1 As soon as this awkward ceremony had been ended, supper was 
brought in, which consisted of eighteen dishes of venison in every 
shape; roasted, boiled with broth, hashed collups, pasties, umble 
pies, and a large haunch in the middle, larded. The table we sat 
at was very large, and the company in all twenty-one persons : at 
each of our elbows there was set a bottle of claret ; and the man 
and woman of the house sat down at the lower end. Two or three 


of the fellows had got natural voices, and so the evening was spent 
as merrily as the rakes past theirs at the King's Arms, or the City 
apprentices with their master's maids at Sadler's Wells. 

" About two, the company seemed inclinable to break up, having 
first assured me that they should take my company as a favour any 
Thursday evening, if I came that way. I confess I did not sleep 
all night with reflecting on what had passed; and could not resolve 
with myself whether these humorous gentlemen in masquerade wer^ 
to be ranked under the denomination of knights-errant, or plain 
robbers. This I must tell you, by the bye, that, with respect both 
to honesty and hardship, their life resembles much that of hussars, 
since drinking is all their delight, and plundering their employ- 

" Before I conclude my epistle, it is fit I should inform you, that 
they did me the honour (with a design perhaps to have received me 
into their order) of acquainting me with those rules by which their 
society was governed. In the first place, the Black Prince assured 
me, ' that the government was perfectly monarchical ; and that, 
when upon expeditions, he had an absolute command ; but in the 
time of peace, (continued he) and at the table, government being 
no longer necessary, I condescend to eat and drink familiarly 
with my subjects as friends. 

" We admit no man into our society, till he has been twice drunk 
among us, that we may be precisely acquainted with his temper, 
in compliance with the old proverb ; ' Women, children, and drun- 
ken folks, speak truth !' but if the person who sues to be admitted, 
declares solemnly he was never drunk in his life, and it appears 
plainly to the society, in such case this rule is dispensed with, and 
the person before admission is only bound to converse with us a 

" As soon as we have determined to admit him, he is then to equip 
himself with a good mare or gelding, a brace of pistols, and a gun 
of the size of this, to be on the saddle-bow ; then he is sworn upon 
the horns over the chimney; and having a new name conferred 
« y the society, is thereby entered upon the roll, and from that day 
forward, considered as a lawful member. I shall only remark one 
thing more, which is, the phrase we make use of in speaking of 
one another; viz. ' He is a very honest fellow, and one of us;' 
far you must know it is the first article in our creed, that there'i 
no sin in deer-stealing.' 

" In the morning, having given my landlady the crown piece, I 
found her temper so much altered for the better, that, in my con- 


icience, I believe she was not in the humour to have refused me 
toy thii.g, no, not even the last favour: and so walking down the 
yard, and finding my horse in pretty tolerable order, I speeded 
directly home, as much in amazement at the new people I had dis- 
covered, as the Duke of Alva's huntsmen when they found an un- 
discovered people 5n Spain, by following their master's hawk over 
the mountains." 

It may, perhaps, be necessary to remark, that the evil was not 
wholly eradicated by the executions already related. Several young 
men, who were not in the least seduced by necessity, supported, 
for some few months afterwards at the expense of their lives, the 
character of this Black Society or Nation : more than one keeper 
was killed in various conflicts which took place; and several families 
were involved in ruin, by circumstances intimately connected with 
these very unhappy transactions. 


Tim was reared to the useful occupation of a shoemaker, but leaving 
his master, he came to London, and soon found out companions 
suited to his disposition. He and his associates frequented an ale- 
house at Wapping; and one day being run short of cash, Tim 
asked the landlord for ten shillings, which he refused. Tim was 
so exasperated, that, along with some of his associates, he broke 
into his house, and bound him, his wife, and maid. Whilst Tim 
was about this operation, the landlord conjured him to be favourable. 
" No, no, you whose prodigality makes you lord it over the people 
here like a boatswain over a ship's crew, must not expect any favour 
from my hands ; but 1 shall go to another part of the town, where 
I shall be more civilly used, and spend a little of your money 
there." Accordingly, Tim and his companions robbed the house 
of forty pounds, three silver tankards, a silver watch, and three 
gold rings. 

Upon another day Tim was airing at Hyde-park-corner, and met 
with Dr. Catesby, the famous mountebank. At the words " Stand 
and deliver !" the doctor went into a long harangue about the hones- 
ty of his calling, and of the great difficulty with which he made a 
living. Tim laughed heartiJy, saying, " Quacks pretend to honesty! 
.here is not such a pack of cheating knaves in the nation. Their 


impudence is intolerable for deceiving honest simple people, arr\ 
pretending that more men were not slain at the battle of the Boyue. 
than they have recovered from death, or beckoned their souls back 
when they have been many leagues from their bodies ; therefore, 
deliver! or this pistol shall put a stop to your further ramblings and 
deception." The doctor preferring his life to his gold, presented 
Tim with six guineas, and a watch, to show him how to keep time 
while spending the money, 

Tim was once apprehended by a baker, in the character of a* 
constable, and sent to Flanders as a soldier. He deserted, and 
returning to London, one day met the baker's wife. He presented 
a pistol, and demanded her money ; she exclaimed, " Is this justice 
or conscience, sir!" " Don't tell me of justice, for I hate her as 
much as your husband can, because her scales are even ! And as 
for conscience, I have as little of that as any baker in England, 
who cheats other people's bellies to fill his own! — Nay, a baker is 
a worse rogue than a tailor; for, whereas the latter commonly 
pinches his cabbage from the rich, the former, by making his bread 
too light, robs all without distinction, but chiefly the poor, for which 
he deserves hanging more than I, or any of my honest fraternity." 
Then, taking from her eleven shillings and two gold rings, he sent 
her home to relate her adventure to her husband. 

Tim next stealing a good horse, commenced busiuess upon the 
highway, and meeting with a pawnbroker by whom he lost some 
articles, he commanded him to stand and deliver. The pawnbroker 
entreated for favour, saying " that it was a very hard thing that 
honest people could not go about their lawful business without 
being robbed." " You talk of honesty, who live by fraud and 
oppression ! — your shop, like the gates of hell is always open, in 
which you sit at the receipt of custom, and having got the spoils of 
the needy, you hang them up in rank and file, like so many trophies 
of victory. To your shop all sorts of garments resort, as on a pil- 
grimage. Thou art the treasurer of the Thieves' Exchequer, for 
which purpose you keep a private warehouse from whence you ship 
them off wholesale, or retail, according to pleasure. Nay, the 
poor and the oppressed have often to pay their own cloth, before 
they can receive them back by your exorbitant exactions. Come, 
come, blood-sucker, open your purse-strings, or this pistol shall 
send you where you are sure to go sooner or later." The poor pawn- 
broker ransomed his life at the expense of twenty-eight guineas, a 
gold watch, a silver box, and two gold rings. 

Upon another occasion, Tim fortunately met with a stock-jobber 


(vcho hod prosecuted him for felony,) and robbea him of forty-eignt 
guineas. He requested something to carry him home. Tim refused, 
saving:, " I have no charity for you stock-jobbers, who rise and 
faA nKe the ebbing and flowing of the tide, and whose paths are 
as unfathomable as the ocean. The grasshopper in the Roya*. 
Exchange is an emblem of your character. What give you some- 
thing to carry you home out of the paltry sum of forty-eight guineas! 
I won't give you a farthing." He then bade him farewell until 
next meeting. 

Though unexpected and unwished, it was not long before the 
stock-jobber reconnoitered Tim, and caused him to be apprehended 
and committed to Newgate. He was tried, and received sentence 
of death; but obtaining a reprieve, and afterwards a pardon, he 
was determined to be revenged of the man who would not give him 
rest to pursue his honest employment; he therefore set fire to a 
country-house belonging to him. To his no small chagrin, however, 
it was quenched before much harm was done. 

Tim then went to Leicestershire, broke into a house, seized 
eighty pounds, purchased a horse, and renewed his former mode 
of life. Thus mounted he attacked a coach in which were three 
gentlemen, and two footmen attending. Tim's horse being shot 
under him, he killed one of the gentlemen and a footman, but being 
overpowered, was committed to Nottingham gaol, and suffered the 
due reward of murder and roooery, at the age of Twenty-nine, 
and in the year 1701. 


Tom was a native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, his father was a 
clothier, whose business he followed until he was two-and-twenty 
years of age. In that period, however, the prominent dispositions 
of his mind were displayed by extravagance, and running into 
debt. In order, therefore, to retrieve his circumstances, he went 
upon the highway. 

Out of gratitude for his father's kindness, he commenced by 
robbing him of eighty pounds and a good horse. Unaccustomed 
to such work, he rode, under the impression that he was pursued, 
and in danger of being taken, no less than forty miles. Arriving 
in Staffordshire, he attacked and robbed the stage coach of a con- 


siderable booty. During the scuffle, several snots viem lit«a 
the passengers, but no injury was done. 

A. monkey belonging to one of the passengers, being tiedbtmno 
the coach was so frightened with the firing, that he broke his cnaio 
and ran for his life. At night, as a countryman was coming over 
a gate, pug leaped out of the hedge upon his back, and clung very 
fast. The poor man, who had never seen such an animal, imagined 
that he was no less a person than the devil; and when he came 
home, thundered at the door. His wife looked out at the window* 
and asked him what he had got. " The devil!" cried he, and 
entreated that she would go to the parson, and beg his assistance. 
" Nay," quoth she, " you shall not bring the devil in here. If 
you belong to him, I don't ; so be content to go without my com- 
pany." Poor Hob was obliged to wait at his door, until one of 
his neighbours, wiser than the rest, came, and with a few apples 
and pears, dispossessed him of the devil, and got him for his pains. 
He accordingly carried him to the owner, and received a suitable 

Tom's next adventure was with a Quaker, who formerly kept a 
Dutton shop, but, being reduced in his circumstances, he was going 
down to the country, to avoid an arrest. In this situation he was 
more afraid of a bailiff than a robber. Therefore, when Tom took 
hold of him by the coat, broadbrim very gravely said, " At whose 
suit dost thou detain me?" — " I detain thee on thy own suit, and 
my demand is for all thy substance." The Quaker having dis- 
covered his mistake, added, " Truly, friend, I don't know thee, 
nor can I indeed imagine that ever thee and I had any dealings 
together." — " You shall find then," said Jones, " that we shall 
deal together now." He then presented his pistol. " Pray, neigh- 
bour, use no violence, for if thou earnest me to gaol, I am 
undone I have fourteen guineas about me, and if that will satisfy 
thee thou art welcome to take them. Here they are, and give 
me leave to assure thee, that I have frequently stopped the mouth 
of a bailiff with a much less sum, and made him affirm to my 
creditors that he could not find me." Jones received the money, 
and replied, " Friend, 1 am not such a rogue as thou takest me to 
be : I am no bailiff, but an honest generous highwayman." — " I 
shall not trouble myself," cried the Quaker, " about the distinction 
of names: if a man takes my money from me by force, it concerns 
me but little what he calls himself, or what his pretences may be 
for so doing." 

At another time Tom met witn Lord and Lady Wharton, and 

Page 185.. 


tf* ^ph they had three men attending, demanded their charity in 
his fcsual style. His lordship said, " Do you know me, sir, tnat 
yew dare be so hold to stop me upon the road ?" — " Not I ; I neither 
know nor care who you are. I am apt to imagine that you are some 
great man, because you speak so big ; but, be as great as you will, 
sir, £ must have you to know, that there is no man upon the road 
so great as myself; therefore, pray be quick in answering my de- 
mands for delays may prove dangerous." Tom then received two 
Hundred pounds, three diamond rings, and two gold watches. 

Upon another day, Tom received intelligence that a gentleman 
was upon the road with a hundred pounds. He waited upon the 
top of the hill to welcome his approach. A steward of the gentle- 
man discovered him, and suspecting his character, desired that the 
money might be given to him, and he would ride off with it, as the 
robber would not suspect him. This was done ; Tom came forward, 
stopped the coach, and the gentleman gave him ten pounds. He 
was greatly enraged, and mentioned the sum that he knew the 
gentleman carried along with him. In an instant, however, sus- 
pecting the stratagem, he rode after the steward with all possible 
speed ; but the latter observing him in pursuit, increased his pace 
and reached an inn before Tom could overtake him. 

After many similar adventures, Tom was apprehended for robbing 
a farmer's wife. He was so habituated to vice, that nothing but 
the gallows could arrest his course, and in the forty-second year of 
his age, he met with that fate, on the 25th April, 1702. 


Arthur Chambers was of low extraction, and destitute of 
every amiable quality. From his very infancy he was addicted to 
pilfering; and the low circumstances of his parents being unable 
to support his extravagances, he had recourse to dishonest practices. 
It is even reported, that before he was dressed in boy's clothes, he 
committed several acts of theft. 

The first thing which he attempted, was to learn, from an ex- 
perienced master, all those cant words and phrases current among 
pickpockets, by which they distinguished one another. Chambers 
was soon an adept in this new language; and being well dressed 
he was introduced to the better sort of company, and took occasion, 
rhen such opportunities offered, to rob his companions. 


In a short time he v»as confined in Bridewell, to answer w»li- 
hard labour for some small offence. Having obtained his liberlv 
he left the town, where he again began to be suspected, and went 
to Cornwall. His social turn gained him a reception in gentee* 
companies, and he became a memorable character in the place. 
Before he left London, he provided himself with a large quantity 
of base crowns and half-crowns, which he uttered wherever he went. 
After many had been deceived, strict search was made, and Cham- 
bers detected. For this offence he was committed to gaol, where 
he remained a year and a half. 

As he could no longer abide in Cornwall, he returned to London. 
Upon his arrival he went to an alehouse, and called for a pot of 
beer and a slice of bread and cheese. Having refreshed himself, 
he entered into conversation with some persons in a neighbouring 
box. The conversation turned upon the superior advantages of 
a country life, but was insensibly directed to that of robbery. 
Chambers, improving the hint, regretted that no better provision 
was made for suppressing such villainies ; for added he, death is 
too scarce a punishment for a man even if he robbed the whole 
world. " But why do I talk thus ?" he continued ; " if great offend- 
ers are suffered, well may the poor.and necessitous say, we must 
live, and where is the harm of taking a few guineas from those who 
can spare them, or who, perhaps, have robbed others of them ? 
For my own part, I look upon a dexterous pickpocket as a very 
useful person, as he draws his resources from the purses of those 
who would spend their money in gaming, or worse. Look ye, 
gentlemen, I can pick a pocket as well as any man in Britain, and 
yet, though I say it, I am as honest as the best Englishman breath- 
ing. Observe that country gentleman passing by the window there, 
I will engage to rob him of his watch, though it is scarcely five 

A wager of ten shillings was instantly taken, and Chambers 
hastened after the gentleman. He accosted him at the extremity 
of Long Lane, and pulling off his hat, asked him if he could 
inform him the nearest way to Knave's acre. The stranger replied, 
that he himself wished to know the way to Moorfields, which 
Chambers pointed out; and while the other kept his eyes fixed 
upon tne places to which he directed him, he embraced an oppor- 
tunity to rob him of his watch, and hastening back to the alehouse, 
threw down his plunder, and claimed the wager. 

He next exerted his ingenuity upon a plain countryman, newly 
come to town. This rustic had got into the company of sharpers, 


&nd stoed gazing at a guming-table. Our adventurer stepping up, 
tapped him on the shoulaer, and enquired what part of the country 
he came from, and if he was desirous to find a place as a gentle- 
man's servant. Robin answered, that it was his very errand to 
town, to find such a place. Chambers then said, that he could fit 
him to a hair. " I believe I can afford you myself four pounds 
a-year standing wages, and six shillings a week board wages, and 
all cast clothes, which are none of the worst." This was sufficient 
to make Robin almost leap out of his skin, for never before had 
such an offer been made to him. Having arranged every thing to 
his wish, Robin entered upon his new service. He received 
Chambers' cloak, threw it over his arm, and followed his master. 
Chambers ordered a coach, and Robin being placed behind, they 
drove off to an inn. Dinner being ordered, Robin sat down with 
his master, and made a hearty meal, the former in the mean while 
instructing him in all the tricks of the town, and inculcating the 
necessity of his always being upon his guard. He informed him 
also, that the servants of the inn would be requesting him to join 
in play at cards, and that he was in danger of being imposed upon 
therefore, if he had any money upon him, it would be proper to 
give it to him, and he would receive it back when necessary 
Robin, accordingly, pulled out his purse, and delivered all that he 
had, with which Chambers paid his dinner, and went off, leaving 
Robin to shift for himself, and to lament the loss of his money and 
his new master. 

The next adventure of Chambers was directed against the inn- 
keeper of the Greyhound, St. Alban's. His wife was rather 
handsome, and exceedingly facetious ; and Chambers being often 
there, was on terms of the greatest familiarity with the household. 
Directing his steps thither, and pretending to have been attacked 
by three men near the inn, he went in with his clothes all besmear- 
ed. The travellers who were in the inn condoled with him on his 
misfortune, and gave him a change of clothes until his own should 
be cleaned. To make amends to himself for this sad disaster, he 
invited six of his fellow-travellers, with the landlord and his wife, 
to supper. The glass circulated pretty freely, and the wife enter- 
tained them with several appropriate songs. Chambers was careful 
that her glass never remained long empty. In a short time he saw 
with pleasure that all his companions, with the solitary exception 
of the landlord, were sunk in the arms of sleep, and he proposed 
that they should be conveyed to bed; whereupon two or three 
stout fellows came to perform that office. Chambers was so obliging 


as to lend his assistance, out took care that their money and wato. 
ihould pay for his trouble. 

Left alone with the landlord, he proposed that they should have 
an additional bottle. Another succeeded before the landlord was 
in a condition to be conveyed to rest. In aiding the servants witn 
the corpulent innkeeper, he discovered the geography of his bed- 
room, and finding that the door was directly opposite to his own, 
he retired, not to rest, but to plot and perfect his villainy. 

When he was convinced that the wine would work its full effect 
upon the deluded pair, he revisited the bedchamber, waited some 
time, and extracted what property he could most conveniently 
carry away; by the dawn of day dressed himself in the best suit 
of clothes which his bottle companions could afford, called for the 
horse of the person whose clothes he now wore, left two guineas 
with the waiter to pay his bill, gave half-a-crown to the ostler, and 
rode off for London. 

His first enterprise after his arrival was attacking an Italian 
merchant upon the Exchange. He took him aside, eagerly en- 
quired what goods he had to dispose of, and, entering into conver- 
sation, one of Chambers's accomplices approaching joined the 
conversation. Meanwhile, our adventurer found means to extract 
from his pocket a large purse of gold and his gold watch, which 
he delivered to his accomplice. Not satisfied with his first success, 
and observing a silk handkerchief, suspended from his pocket, he 
walked behind him to seize it, but was detected in the act, and 
kept fast hold of by the merchant, who cried out lustily, " Thief! 
thief!" In this dilemma, Chambers's accomplice ran to the crier, 
and requested him to give public proclamation, that if any body 
had lost a purse of gold, upon giving proper information it would 
be restored. With the expectation of finding his money again, 
the merchant let go his hold ; and, in the crowd, Chambers and 
his friends retired with their booty. 

But Chambers was now resolved to perform an action worthy of 
his talents. He hired the first-floor of a house, and agreed with 
the landlord for 14s. a week. Having, in the first instance, been 
mistaken for a man of fortune, both from his appearance and style 
of living, a mutual confidence was gradually established. When 
his plot was matured, he one day entered, with a very pensive and 
sorrowful look, the apartment of his landlord, who anxiously in- 
quired the cause of his great uneasiness; when Chambers, with 
tears in his eyes, informed him, that he had just returned from 
Hampstead, where he had witnessed the death of a beloved brother 


who had left him his sole heir, with an express injunction to convey 
his dear remains to Westminster Abbey. He therefore entreated 
the favour of being allowed to bring his brother's remains at a cer- 
tain hour to his house, that from thence they might be conveyed 
to the place of their destination, which very reasonable request 
was readily granted by his unsuspecting landlord. 

Chambers went off the next morning, leaving word, that the 
corpse would be there at six o'clock in the evening. At the ap- 
pointed hour, the hearse, with six horses, arrived at the door. An 
elegant coffin, with six gilded handles, was carried up-stairs, and 
placed upon the dining-room table, and the horses were conveyed 
by the men to a stable in the neighbourhood. They informed the 
landlord, that Chambers was detained on business, and would 
probably sleep that night in the Strand. 

That artful rogue was, however, confined in the coffin, in which 
hair holes had been made, the screw-nails left unfixed, his clothes 
all on, with a winding-sheet wrapped over them, and his face 
blanched with flour. All the family were now gone to bed, except 
the maid-servant. Chambers arose from his confinement, went 
down stairs to the kitchen wrapped in his winding-sheet, sat down, 
and stared the maid in the face, who, overwhelmed with fear, cried 
out, " A ghost ! a ghost?" and ran up-stairs to her master's room, 
who chid her unreasonable fears, and requested her to return to 
bed and compose herself. She, however, obstinately refused, and 
remained in the room. 

In a short time, however, in stalked the stately ghost, took his 
seat, and conferred a complete sweat and a mortal fright upon all 
three who were present. Retiring from his station when he deemed 
it convenient, he continued, by the moving of the doors, and the 
noise raised through the house, to conceal his design : in the mean 
time, he went down stairs, opened the doors to his accomplices, 
who assisted him in carrying off the plate, and every thing which 
could be removed, not even sparing the kitchen utensils. The 
maid was the first to venture from her room in the morning, and 
to inform her master and mistress of what had happened, who, 
more than the night before, chid her credulity in believing that a 
ghost could rob a house, or carry away any article out of it. In a 
little time, however, the landlord was induced to rise from his bed, 
and to move down stairs, and found, to his astonishment and 
chagrin, that the whole of his plate, and almost the whole of his 
moveables, were gone, for which he had only received in return 
an empty coffin. 


A great many other stories of the like nature are told of Cham- 
bers ; and it is well known, that for the few years he was permitted, 
by singular good fortune, to go at large, he committed as many 
artful and daring actions as were ever accomplished by one man. 

At length, however one Jack Hall, a chimney-sweeper, being 
apprehended, to save his own life, made himself an evidence against 
Chambers, who, being cast upon that information, was, with two 
other notorious offenders, executed at Tyburn, in 1703, in the % 
twenty-eighth year of his age. 


Jack Ovet was born at Nottingham, and, after serving an ap- 
prenticeship to a shoemaker, for some time, gained his bread 
by that industrious and useful employment : but his licentious dis- 
position inclining him to profligate and abandoned company, he 
soon took to the highway. 

After having purchased a horse, pistols, and every necessary 
utensil proper to his projected profession, he rode towards London, 
and on the way robbed a gentleman of 20/. That gentlemau, 
however, not destitute of courage, and unwilling to part with his 
money, told Ovet, that if he had not taken him unawares, he would 
not so soon have plundered him of his property. The son of Cris- 
pin was not destitute of the essential qualifications of his new 
profession; he, therefore, replied, that he had already ventured 
his life for his 20/. ; " But," continued he, " here's your money 
again, and whoever is the better man, let him win it and wear it." 
The proposal being agreed to, and both employing their swords, 
the gentleman fell, and Ovet had the money. 

But having now stained his hands with blood, it was not Long 
before he killed another man in a quarrel. He, however, escaped 
from justice, and continued his depredations. One day, being 
greatly in want of money, and meeting one Rogers with tome 
pack-horses, he turned one of them off the way, opened the pack, 
and extracted about two hundred and eighty guineas, with three 
fiozen of silver knives, forks, and spoons. Then, tying the horf* 
to a tree, he made off with the spoil. 


Another ame, Jack Ovet, drinking at the Star Inn, in the Strand, 
overheard a soap-boiler contriving with a carrier how he should send 
1001. to a friend in the country. At length, it was concluded upon 
to put the money into a barrel of soap ; which project was mightily 
approved of by the carrier, who answered, " If any rogues should 
rob my waggon, (which they never did but once,) the devil must 
be in them if they look for any money in the soap-barrel. Accord 
ingly, the money and soap were brought to the inn, and next 
morning, the carrier going out of town, Jack Ovet overtook him 
in the afternoon, and command mg him to stop, or otherwise he 
would shoot him and his horses too, he was obliged to obey the word 
of command. Then, cried the honest highwayman, " I must make 
bold to borrow a little money out of your waggon : therefore, if 
you have any, direct me to it, that I may not lose any time, which 
you know is always precious." The carrier told him, he had 
nothing but cumbersome goods in his waggon, that he knew of; 
however, if he would not believe him, he might search every box 
and bundle there, if he pleased. 

Ovet soon got into the waggon, and threw all the boxes and 
bundles about, till, at last, he came to the soap-barrel, which feel- 
ing somewhat heavy, said he to the carrier, " What do you do 
with this nasty commodity in your waggon ? I'll fling it away " 
So throwing it on the ground, the hoops burst, out flew the head, 
and the soap spreading abroad, the bag appeared: then jumping 
out of the waggon, and taking it up, said he again, " Is not he that 
sells this soap a cheating rascal, to put a bag of lead into it, to 
make the barrel weigh heavy ? If I knew where he lived, I'd go 
and tell him my mind. However, that he may not succeed in his 
roguery, I'll take it and sell it at the next house I come to, for it 
will wet one's whistle to the tune of two or three shillings." 

He was going to ride away, when the carrier cried after him, 
" Hold, hold, sir! that is not lead in the bag; it is a hundred 
pounds, for which (if you take it away) I must be accountable." 
1 No, no I" replied Jack Ovet, " this cannot be money; but if it 
is, tell the owner that I will be answerable for it if he will come to 
me." " Where, sir," said the carrier, " may one find you ?" 
" Why, truly," replied Jack, " that is u question soon asked, but 
not so easily to be answered; the best direction I can give is, it is 
likely that you may find me in a gaol before night, and then 
perhaps, you may have again what I have taken from you, and Jony 
pounds to boot " 
Auotner time Jack Ovet, meeting with the Worcester stagre-coach 


on the road, in which were several young ladies, he robbed th«*rr. 
all ; but one of them being a very handsome person, he was strueK 
with admiration, and when he took her money from her, saia, 
" Madam, cast not your eyes down, neither cover your face with 
those modest blushes ; your charms have softened my temper, and 
I am no longer the man I was; what I have taken from you 
(through mere necessity at present) is only borrowed; for as no 
object on earth ever had such an effect on me as you, assjire 
yourself, that, if you please to tell me where I may direct to you, 
I will, upon honour, make good your loss to the very utmost." 
The young lady told him where he might send to her; and then 
parting, it was not above a week after that Jack sent a letter to her 
who had gained such an absolute conquest over his soul that his mind 
ran now as much upon love as robbery. 

Unfortunately, however, the sentimental attachment of our too 
susceptible highwayman was doomed to suffer a defeat; and still 
more unfortunately, he was quite as unsuccessful in his profession t 
for, committing a robbery in Leicestershire, where his comrade wa* 
killed in the attempt, he was closely pursued by the county, ap- 
prehended, and sent to gaol; and at the next Leicester assizes 
condemned. Whilst under sentence of death, he seemed to fee' 
no remorse at all for his wickedness, nor in the least to repent o 
the blood of two persons, which he had shed. So being brought to 
the gallows, on Wednesday the fifth of May, 1708, he was justly 
hanged in the thirty-second year of his age. 


The title of captain did not belong to our hero. He was 
a native of South Wales, and his father, who was an innkeeper 
gave him a good education, and bound him apprentice to an attor- 
ey. This business did not suit the natural bent of the Captain's 
temper, and having an opportunity of occasional conversation witn 
the gentlemen of the road, he fell in love with their honourable 

It was not long before he became the most dexterous robber in 
those parts, and soon acquired considerable wealth. One day 
Evans was being conducted to Shrewsbury gaol under a stmny 
guard, vtuh bis legs tied below his horse. One of his guards hud 


a fine fowling-piece, loaded, and Evans espying a pheasant perched 
ujoon a tree, with a deep sigh informed his comrades how dexterous 
he used to be in shooting at such a mark ; and requested that he 
might be favoured with the piece, that he might show his skill in 
bringing down the bird. The simple fellow complied with his re- 
quest ; but no sooner was the captain in possession of the gun, than 
he turned upon his guards, and swore a volley of oaths that he 
would firetmpon them if they moved a step farther. He then re- 
treated to a convenient distance, and commanded one of them who 
was best mounted to come towards him, to alight from his horse, 
deliver up his pistols, and untie his legs. This being done, he 
mounted the fine gelding, leaving his small pony in his stead, and 
took leave of his guides. 

Arriving in London, he, after some time, became clerk to Sir 
Edmund Andrews, governor of Guernsey, and continued in that 
station for three or four years. But the return of an annual salary 
was too dilatory for the patience of Evans ; he, therefore, left that 
employment, and repairing to London assumed the character of a 
merchant or ship captain ; and having dressed his younger brother 
in livery, employed him as his servant. 

In this assumed character he committed several notorious rob* 
beries in the vicinity of London. But his most daring robbery 
was an attack upon Mr. Harvey of Essex in the day time. That 
gentleman was riding home from St. Paul's cathedral in his coach, 
when Evans commanded him to surrender, and took from him a 
diamond ring and a considerable sum of money. 

Upon another occasion the captain encountered a writing-master 
and his wife, and imperiously demanded their money, which they 
obstinately refused. To punish their obstinacy he rifled them of 
what money they had; then upon pain of death commanded them 
to strip themselves, and tying them together, bound them to a tree, 
and left them in that situation. 

In one of his rambles, accompanied by his brother accomplices, 
he attacked a member of Parliament on Bagshot Heath, riding in 
a coach and six with three other gentlemen ; there were also four 
on horseback, well armed, besides three footmen, a coachman and 
postilion. Suspecting Evans and his companions to be robbers, 
they prepared to receive them, and several shots were exchanged 
with no other injury than shooting the horse upon which William, 
the captain's brother, rode. To save farther blood, Evans and the 
gentleman drew their swords, and engaged in single combat. 
Evans soon disarmed the squire, but gallantly returned his sworu, 


contenting himself with a good horse for his brother, and unit 
money they chose to give him as a free donation. For this- generous 
behaviour, that gentleman afterwards endeavoured to save Evans's 

One day, the captain meeting Nugent, a bricklayer, whose bulk 
resembled that of a giant, our hero was at first alarmed ; but ap- 
proaching nearer, commanded him to stand and deliver, and there- 
upon searching his pockets, robbed him of a watch, and sevente*n 
or eighteen shillings of money, which having converted to his own 
use, he went to seek a richer booty. 

The following was one of the most remarkable of the adventures 
of Evans and his brother; upon the road to Portsmouth, they met 
a band of constables, conducting about thirty poor fellows whom 
they had impressed. Evans asked the reason why they were led 
like captives and tied together. The officers informed them that 
these men were for the king's service, and that they had ten shill- 
ings for each man. He highly commended them for doing their 
duty, and rode forward. At a convenient place, he and his brother 
attacked them with such fury, that they rescued the prisoners and 
stripped the officers of every shilling. Nor did this suffice, for 
they bound them neck and heels, and left them in an adjacent field. 
At another time, the captain met with one Cornish, an informer 
upon Finchley Common. He saluted him in his usual phrase, 
'* Stand and deliver, or you are a dead man !" Poor Cornish trem- 
bled like an aspen leaf, and begged that he would save his life, 
informing him, at the same time, that if he robbed hiin he was 
undone. " What a plague !" said Evans, " are you a Spaniard, 
that you carry all your money about you?" " No, sir," replied 
Cornish, " I am a poor honest man, as ail my neighbours in St. 
Sepulchre's parish know, belonging to the Chamberlain." " Then 
what inn do you live at?" said Evans. " Perhaps you may do me 
a piece of service, by informing me of wealthy passengers lodging 
at your house, and if so, I shall generously reward you." " Sir," 
replied Cornish, " I belong to no chamberlain of inns, but to the 
Chamberlain of London, to whom I give information of persons 
setting up in the city who are not freemen; of apprentices not 
taking out their freedom when their time is expired; and other 
such matters as come under the cognizance of that officer." " What, 
you belong to the Chamberlain of London, then ? I thought all 
this time that you had belonged to some inn, and so might have 
given me intelligence in my way of business ; but as I find the 
contrary, I have no more time to loie with yon; deliver, or you 


are a dead man 1" Then searching the pockets of the informer, in 
which he only found fivepence, he was enraged that he had lost so 
much time for nothing. He vented, however, his chagrin and 
rage, by giving him a severe caning, and went in search of better 

Having received intelligence that the Chester coach was coming 
to London with passengers, Evans sent his brother Will to quarter 
at Barnet the previous night, and to be at Baldock Lane by a cer- 
tain hour next morning. It happened that a cheesemonger, a 
Scotchman, was travelling to Edinburgh, and putting up at the 
same place, slept with Will all night, and, in the morning, under 
the pretence of business, Will went part of the road with his bed- 
fellow. But when they came to Baldock Lane, the Scotchman was 
alarmed by a pistol discharged over Will's head, which was a signal 
agreed upon between the brothers. They then commanded the 
Scotchman to stand at a distance, while the two desperate brothers 
robbed the coach. Scarcely, however, was this done when the 
captain robbed the Scotchman of seven guineas and two watches. 
The younger brother however, interceeded in his behalf, and the 
best watch was delivered back, and three guineas to bear his expell- 
ees upon the road. But it happened, that these two notorious rob- 
bers being apprehended, this man appeared in evidence against 
them, and they were condemned and executed in the year 1708; 
the one being twenty-nine, and the other twenty-three years of age. 


This robber was bred a glover; but before he had served one half 
of his time, ran off from his master, and coming to London, soon 
became acquainted with men of dispositions similar to his own. 
About the age of seventeen, Tom ventured to appear upon the 
highway, but was outwitted in his first attempt. 

Meeting a Welshman, he demanded Taffy's money, or he would 
take his life. The Welshman said, " Hur has no money of hur 
own, but has threescore pounds of hur master's money; but, Cot's 
blood! hur must not give hur master's money, — what would hur 
master then say for hur doing so?" Tom replied, " You must not 
put me off with your cant; for money I want, and money I will 
have, let it be whose it will, or expect to be shot through the head.'* 


The Welshman then delivered the money, saying, " What hur 
gives you is none of hur own; and that hur master may not think 
hur has spent hur money, hur requests you to be so kind as to shoot 
some holes through hur coat-lappets, that hur master may see hur 
was robbed." So suspending his coat upon a tree, Tom rired his 
pistol through it, Taffy exclaiming, " Cots splatter a-nails ! this is 
a pretty pounce ; pray give hur another pounce for hur money \" 
Tom fired another shot through his coat. " By St. Davy, this fc 
a better pounce than the other ! pray give hur one pounce more !" 
— " I have never another pounce left," cried Tom. " Why then," 
replied the Welshman, " hur has one pounce left for hur, and if 
hur will not give hur hur money again, hur will pounce hur through 
hur body." Dorbel very reluctantly but quietly returned the money, 
and was thankful that he was allowed to depart. 

But this narrow escape did not deter Dorbel, and he continued 
his villainies for the space of five years. It happened, however, 
that a gentleman's son was taken for robbing on the highway, and 
as he had been formerly pardoned, he now despaired of obtaining 
mercy a second time. Tom undertook, for the sum of five hundred 
pounds, to bring him off. The one half was paid in hand, and the 
other half was to be paid immediately the deliverance was effected. 
When the young gentleman came upon his trial, he was found 
guilty ; but just as the judge was about to pass sentence, Tom cried 
out, " Oh! what a sad thing it is to shed innocent blood! Oh! 
what a sad thing it is to shed innocent blood !" And continuing to 
reiterate the expression, he was apprehended, and the judge inter- 
rogating him what he meant by such an expression, he said, " May 
it please your Lordship, it is a very hard thing for a man to die 
wrongfully ; but one may see how hard-mouthed some people are, 
by the witnesses swearing that this gentleman now at the bar, robb- 
ed them on the highway at such a time, when indeed, my Lord, I 
was the person that committed that robbery." 

Accordingly, Tom was taken into custody, and the young gentle- 
man liberated. He was brought to trial at the following assizes* 
and being asked, whether he was guilty or not? he pleaded, not 
guilty! " Not guilty!" replied the judge, " why, did not you at 
the last assizes, when I was here, own yourself guilty of such a 
robbery !" " I don't know," said Tom, " how far I was guilty then, 
but upon my word, I am not guilty now: therefore, if any person 
can accuse me of committing such a robbery, I desire they may 
prove the same " No witness appearing, he was acquitted. 
Tom living at such an extravagant rate in the prison, had scarcely 


any part of the five hundred pounds remaining when he obtained 
his liberty; therefore, endeavouring to recruit his funds, by robb- 
ing the Duke of Norfolk near Salisbury, his horse was shot, and 
he himself taken, and condemned at the next assizes. While 
under sentence, he found a lawyer who engaged, for the sum of 
fifty guineas, to obtain his pardon. He accordingly rode to London, 
was successful, and just arrived in time with the pardon, when 
Dorbel was about to be thrown off, — having rode so hard that his 
horse immediately dropted down dead. Such, however, was Tom's 
ingratitude, that he refused to pay the lawyer, alleging, that any 
obligation given by a man under sentence of death was not valid. 
Dorbel was so much alarmed upon his narrow escape from a 
violent death, that he resolved to abandon the collecting trade, and 
obtained a situation in several families as a footman. He also 
served six or seven years with a lady in Ormond Street, who had a 
brother a merchant in Bristol, whose only daughter, a girl sixteen 
years of age, prevailed upon her father to allow her to come to 
London to perfect her education. Dorbel being a person in whom 
her aunt thought she could place unlimited confidence, was sent 
to convey the young lady to London. In the last stage he was left 
alone with her, when the miscreant first shockingly abused her, 
then robbsd her of her gold watch, diamond ring, jewels to the 
amount of a hundred pounds, and cutting a hole in the back of the 
coach, escaped, leaving the young lady in a swoon. It was with 
difficulty she recovered, to inform her relations how she had been 
treated. Her mother hastened to town to see her, and after speak- 
ing a few words to her, the poor girl breathed her last. The dis- 
consolate father soon after lost his senses. 

Dorbel was pursued in different directions, and apprehended just 
after he hed robbed a gentleman of three pounds five shillings. 
He was tried, and condemned to be executed and hung in chains 
which well merited sentence was put in force against this hardened 
villain, on the 23rd of March, 1708. 


The parents of this worthless fellow lived in Gloucestershire, and 
gave him an education suited to his station. Leaving the country, 
and coming to London, the abode of the most distinguished virtue 


as well as the most consummate villainy, he was introduced into 
the service of a great Duchess at St. James's, and stayed there 
for two years. He was at last dismissed for improper conduct; 
but while he remained there, he had obtained a general key which 
opened the lodgings in St. James's. Accordingly, he went to a 
mercer, and desired him to send, with all speed, a parcel of the 
best brocades, satins, and silks, for his Duchess, that she might 
select some for an approaching drawing-room. Having often gon«, 
upon a similar errand, the mercer instantly complied. His servant, , 
and a porter to carry the parcels, accompanied Dick, and when 
arrived at the gate of some of the lodgings, he said, " Let's see 
the pieces at once, for my Duchess is just now at leisure to look at 
them. So receiving the parcel, he conveyed it down a back-stair, 
and went clear off. After waiting with great impatience for two 
or three hours, the porter and man returned home, much lighter 
than when they came out. 

About a month after, one evening when Dick had been taking 
his glass pretty freely, he unfortunately came by the mercer's shop, 
while the mercer was standing at the door; the latter recollected 
and instantly seized him, saying, " Oh Sir, have I caught you ! 
you are a fine spark indeed ! to cheat me out of two hundred pounds 
worth of goods ! but before 1 part with you, I shall make you pay 
dearly for them!" Adams was not a little surprised at being so 
unexpectedly taken ; but instantly seeing the Bishop of London 
coming up in his carriage, he said to the mercer, " I must acknow- 
ledge that I have committed a crime to which I was forced by extreme 
necessity; but I see my uncle, the Bishop of London, coming this 
way in his coach ; therefore, I hope that you will be so civil as not 
to raise any hubbub of a mob about me, by which I should be ex- 
posed and utterly undone : I'll go speak to his Lordship about the 
matter, if you please to step with me ; and I'll engage he shall 
make you satisfaction for the damage I have done you." 

The mercer, eager to receive his money, and deeming this pro- 
posal a better method than sending him to gaol, consented. Adams 
went boldly up, and desiring the coachman to stop, requested a few 
words of his Lordship. Seeing him in the dress of a gentleman, 
he was pleased to listen to him, upon which Adams said, " Begging 
your lordship's pardon for my presumption, I make bold to acquaint 
your Reverence that the gentleman standing behind me is an emi- 
nent mercer, keeping house hard by, and is a very upright, Godly 
man; but being a great reader of books of divinity, especially 
polemical pieces, he has met therein with some intricate cases, 


which very much trouble him, and his conscience cannot be at rest 
until his doubts and scruples are cleared about them; I humbly 
beg, therefore, that your Lordship would vouchsafe him the honour 
of giving him some ease before he runs utterly to despair." 

The Bishop, always ready to assist any person troubled with 
scruples of conscience, requested Adams to bring his friend the 
following day: "but," said Adams, deferentially, " it will be more 
satisfactory to the poor man, if your Lordship will spea* to him 
yourself." Upon which the Bishop bowing to the mercer, the latter 
approached the coach, when the Bishop said, " The gentleman has 
informed me of all the matter about you, and if you please to give 
yourself the trouble of coming to my house at Fulham, [ will 
satisfy you in every point." The mercer made many grateful bowa, 
and taking Adams to a tavern, gave him a good entertainment. 

The next morning Adams waited upon the mercer, who wan 
making out his bill to present to the Bishop, and pretending that 
his coming in haste to attend him to the Bishop's house had made 
him forget to bring money with him, entreated that he would grant 
him the loan of a guinea, and put it down in the bill. They then 
went off to wait upon the Bishop at the time appointed. After 
being regaled in the parlour with a bottle of wine, the mercer was 
introduced to the Bishop, who addressed him, saying, " I under- 
stand that you have been greatly troubled of late ; I hope that you 
are better now, sir ?" The mercer answered, " My trouble is much 
abated, since your Lordship has been pleased to order me to wait 
upon you." So pulling out his pocket-book, he presented his 
lordship with a bill containing several articles, including a guinea 
of borrowed money, amounting in all to two hundred and three 
pounds nineteen shillings and ten pence. 

His Lordship, staring upon the bill, and examining its contents, 
said, " What is the meaning of all this ? The gentleman last night 
might very well say your conscience could not be at rest, and I 
wonder why it should, when you bring a bill to me of which I know 
nothing." "Your Lordship," said the mercer, bowing and scraping, 
" was pleased last night to say, that you would satisfy me to-day." 
" Yes," replied the prelate, " and so I would with respect to what 
that gentleman told me ; who said that you, being much troubled 
about some points of religion, desired to be resolved therein, and, 
in order thereto, I appointed you to come to-day." " Truly, your 
Lordship's nephew told me otherwise; for he said you would pay 
me this bill of parcels, which, upon my word, he had of me, and 
in t very clandestine manner too, if I were to tell your Lordship 


all the truth ; but out of respect to your honour, I will not disgrace 
your nephew." " My nephew ! he is none of ray nephew ! I never, 
to ray knowledge, saw the gentleman in my life before!" 

Dick not long after went into the Life-Guards, but as his pay 
would not support his extravagance, he sometimes collected upon 
the highway. Along with some of his companions upon the road, 
they robbed a gentleman of a gold watch and a purse of a hundred 
and eight pounds. Not content with his booty, Adams went afte* 
the gentleman, saying, " Sir, you have got a very fine coat on ; I 
must make bold to exchange with you." As the gentleman rode 
along, he thought he heard something making a noise in his pocket, 
and examining it, to his great joy he found his watch and all his 
money, which Adams in his hurry had forgot to remove out of the 
pocket of his own coat when he exchanged with the gentleman. 
But when Adams and his associates came to an inn, and sat down 
to examine their booty, to their unspeakable chagrin they found 
that all was gone. 

Adams and his companions went out that very same day to repair 
their loss, and attacked the stage-coach, in which were several 
women, with whom, irritated by their recent misfortune, they were 
very rough and urgent. While Dick was searching the pockets 
of one of the women, she said, " Have you no pity or compassion 
on our sex ? Certainly, you have neither Christianity, conscience, 
nor religion, in you!" " Right, we have not much Christianity 
nor conscience in us : but, for my part, you shall presently find a 
little religion in me." So falling next upon her jewels and ear- 
rings, " Indeed, Madam," exclaimed Adams, "supposing you to 
l/e an Egyptian, I must beg the favour of you, being a Jew, to 
borrow your jewels and ear-rings, according as my forefathers were 
commanded by Moses ;" and having robbed the ladies to the amount 
of two hundred pounds in money and goods, allowed them to 

After a course of depredations, Dick, in robbing a man between 
London and Brentford, was so closely pursued by the person who 
was robbed, and a neighbour whom he fortunately met upon the 
road, that in a little time afterwards he was apprehended, carried 
before a magistrate, committed to Newgate, tried, condemned, 
and executed, in March, 1713. Though rude and profligate before, 
he v as penitent and devout after receiving his sentence. 

■ -^=^%m. 

Page 201. 





The father of this man was a grazier in Herefordshire; ana ne 
lived with him until he was sixteen years old, and then came up to 
London. Sometimes in the capacity of a footman, and sometimes 
in that of a butler, he spent five years in a very irreproachable 
manner. Unfortunately, however, he became acquainted with evil 
company, was soon corrupted in principles, and became a rogue in 

He began his course under the name of William Smith, and 
traded in the smaller matter of pilfering. In the dress of a porter 
he one evening went into the house of a doctor of medicine, took 
down a rich bed, and packed it up. In carrying it off he fell down 
stairs, and had almost broken his neck. The noise alarming the 
oJd doctor and his son, they came running to see what was the 
matter; whereupon Gettings, puffing and blowing as if he was 
quite out of breath, perceiving them nearer than they should be, 
said to the doctor, "Is not your name Young?" — "Yes," replied 
the doctor, " and what then?" — " Why, then, sir," said Gettings, 
" There's one Mr. Hugh Hen and Penhenribus has ordered me to 
bring these goods hither (which have almost broken my back,) 
and carry them away to a new lodging, which he has taken some- 
where hereabouts." — " Mr. Hugh Hen and Penhenribus?" replied 
the doctor again; "pray, who's he? for, to the best of my know- 
ledge, I don't know such a gentleman." — " I can't tell," said 
Gettings, " but, indeed, the gentleman knows you, and ordered 
me to leave the goods here." — " I don't care," said the doctor, 
" how well he knows ! I tell you I'll not take the people's goods, 
unless they were here themselves; therefore, I say, carry them 
away!" — : Nay, pray sir," said Gettings, " let me leave the goods 
here, for I am quite weary already in bringing them hither." — " I 
tell you," replied the doctor, " there shall none be left here; there- 
fore take them away, or I'll throw them into the street!" — " Well, 
well," said Gettings, " I'll take the goods away then ; but I'm sure 
the gentleman will be very angry, because he ordered me to leave 
them here." — " I don't care," replied the doctor, " for his anger, 


nor your'a eitner ! I tell you, I'll take no charge of other people's 
goods, unless they are here themselves to put them into my cus- 
tody!" — " Very well, sir," said Gettings, " since I must carry 
them away, I beg the favour of you and the gentleman there to 
lift them on my back." — " Ay, ay, with all my heart," replied the 
doctor. " Come son, and lend a hand to lift them on the fellow's 

Scarcely was William gone, when the doctor's wife coming hoine 
from the market, and going into the room, saw the bed taken down, 
and came running in a great passion to her husband, exclaiming, 
" Why, truly, this is a most strange business, that I can never stir 
out of doors, but you must be making some whimsical alteration 
or other in the house !" — " What's the matter," replied the doctor, 
U with the woman ? ■ Are you beside yourself?" — " No, said the 
wife, " but truly you are, in thus altering things as you do, almost 
every moment !" — " Certainly, my dear," replied the doctor, " you 
must have been spending your market-penny, or else you would 
not talk at this rate, as you do, of alterations, when not the small- 
est have been made since you have gone out." — " I am not blind, 
I think," retorted the wife, " for I am sure the bed is taken out of 
the two-pair-of-stairs back-room; and pray, husband, where do 
you design to put it now ?" The doctor and his son then went up- 
stairs, and not only found that the bed was stolen, but that they 
had assisted the thief to carry it off. 

Our hero next resolved to try his fortune upon the highway, and 
meeting with a sharper on the road, commanded him to " stand 
and deliver?" He robbed him of two-pence halfpenny, when the 
sharper remarked, that " the world was come indeed to a very sad 
pass, when one rogue must prey upon another." 

He next robbed a man of twelve shillings and a pair of silver 
buckles. From hence he proceeded to rifle a stage-coach, and took 
away some money and a silver watch. Not long after, he robbed 
Mr. Dashwood and his lady of a gold watch and money. 

These, however, were only smaller exhibitions of his dexteiity. 
One evening, well mounted, he passed through Richmond, and 
perceiving a gentleman walking in his gardens, enquired of the 
gardener, if he might be permitted to view the gardens, of which 
he had heard so much. 

The gardener, well acquainted with the harmless vanity and 
benevolence of his master, granted his request. Giving his horse 
to the gardener, Gettings walked forward, and in a very respectful 
manner, accosted the gentleman, who received him very courteous 


ly; when, setting down together in an arbour, Gettings said, 
" Your worship has got a fine diamond ring upon your finger."— 
" Yes," replied the owner, " it ought to be a very fine one, for it 
cost me a very fine price." — " Why, then," said Gettings, " it is 
the fitter to bestow on a friend; therefore, if your worship pleases, 
I must make bold to take it and wear it for your sake." The gentle- 
man stared at his impudence, but Gettings, presenting a pistol, 
made a short process of the matter. Having taken the ring, the 
villian added, " I am sure you do not go without a good watch too." 
Making free with that also, and some guineas, he bound the gentle- 
man, and went off with his booty, after requesting him to be patient, 
and he would send some person to set him at liberty. When he 
came to the gate, he gave the gardener a shilling, informing him 
that Sir James wanted to speak to him. The botanical retainer 
accordingly went and untied his master, who with a grim smile 
returned him thanks for sending a man into his own garden to 
rob him. 

Upon another day, Gettings undertook a long journey, for the 
express purpose of robbing the house of a friend; and being well 
acquainted with all parts of the house, was successful, and brought 
off money, plate, and goods, to a considerable amount. He at 
last, in an unlucky moment, robbed a Mr. Harrison of four guineas, 
some silver, and a watch ; and being detected, was tried, condemn- 
ed, and executed, on the 25th September, 1713, in the twenty-second 
year of his age. 


Edward Bonnet was born of respectable parents in the isle of 
Ely, in Cambridgeshire, received an education superior to many 
of his companions, and when he was only ten years old, gave the 
following proof of his promising genius. He was sent to the parson 
with the present of a sparerib of pork, wrapped up in a cljth, in 
a basket. Ned knocked with some degree of importance at the 
door, which a servant answered, enquiring his business. " I want 
to speak with your master." The master came, " Well, my lad, 
what is your business ?" " Why, only my father has sent you this," 
said young Ned ; and gave him the basket, without moving his hat, 
" O fie ! tie ; child, have you no manners ? you should pull <^ j c 


hat, and say,— Sir, my father gives his service to you, and desires 
you to accept this small token. Come, go you out again with the 
basket, and knock at the door, and I'll let you in, and see how 
prettily you can perform it." The parson waited within until his 
impatience to receive and examine the contents of the basket, 
incited him to open the door. But Ned was at a considerable dis- 
tance, walking off with the present. " So ho ! so ho ! sirrah ! 
where are you going ?" " Home, sir," replied Ned, in an equally 
loud voice. " Hey, but you must come back and do as I bade you 
first." " Thank you for that, sir, I know better than that ; and if 
you teach me manners, I'll teach you wit." The father smiled at 
the story, and retained his spare-rib. 

At the age of fifteen Bonnet was sent apprentice to a grocer, 
served his time with credit, was afterwards married to a young 
woman in the neighbourhood, and continued in business, for 
some time, until he had acquired about six hundred pounds. 
Unfortunately, however, he was reduced to poverty by an accidental 
fire. Unable to answer the pressing demands of his creditors, he 
left the place, and came up to London. Here he soon became 
acquainted with a band of highwaymen, and began with them to 
seek from the highway what had been lost by fire. 

Nor did he long continue in the inferior walks of his new profes- 
sion, but providing himself with a horse which he taught to leap 
over ditch, hedge, or toll-bar, and to know all the roads in the 
country, whether by day or by night, he quickly became the terror 
of Cambridgeshire. 

Upon this horse, he one day met a Cantabrigian, who was possessed 
of more money than good sense, morality, or wit, in a calash with 
a dashing courtesan. Ned commanded the student to " stand and 
deliver." Unwilling to show his cowardice before his companion, 
he refused. Without any respect to the venerable University to 
which he belonged, Ned by violence took from him about six pounds, 
and presenting a pair of pistols, constrained the hopeful pair to 
strip themselves, then bound them together, and giving the horse 
a lashing, the animal went off at full trot with them to the inn to 
which he belonged. But no sooner did these Adamites enter the 
town, than men, women, and children, came hallooing, shouting, 
and collecting the whole town to behold such an uncommon spec- 
tacle. The student was expelled for disgracing the University, 
and the courtesan was sent to th ? house of correction. 

Humourous Ned mxt met wich a tailor and his son, who had 
arrested him for fivt- pounds. He commanded him to surrender 


and received thirty-five in place of his five. " I wonder," suiu 
the innocent son, " what these fellows think of themselves ? surely 
they must go to the place below for committing these notorious 
actions." " God forbid," replied the tailor, " for to have the con- 
versation of such rogues there, would be worse than all the rest." 

Ned's next adventure was with an anabaptist preacher, whom 
he commanded to deliver up his purse and scrip. The latter began 
by reasonings, ejaculations, and texts, to avert the impending 
evil. Ned instantly put himself in a great passion, and replied, 
" Pray, sir, keep your breath to cool your porridge, and don't talk 
of religious matters to me, for I'll have you to know, that, like all 
other true-bred gentlemen, I believe nothing at all of religion ; 
therefore deliver me your money, and bestow your laborious cant 
upon your female auditors, who never scold with their maids with- 
out cudgelling them with broken pieces of scripture." Whereupon, 
taking a watch and eight guineas, he tied his legs under his horse, 
and let him depart. 

On another occasion, Bonnet and a few associates met a nobleman 
and four servants in a narrow pass, one side of which was enclosed 
by a craggy and shattered rock, and the other by an almost impene- 
trable wood, rising gradually considerably higher than the road ; 
and accosted them in his usual style. The nobleman pretended 
that he supposed they were only in jest, and said, " that if they 
wou.d accompany him to the next inn, he would give them a hand- 
some treat." He was soon informed that they preferred the present 
to the future. A sharp dispute ensued, but the nobleman and his 
men were conquered; and the lord was robbed of a purse of gold, 
a gold watch, a gold snuff-box, and a diamond ring. 

Being conducted into the adjacent wood, and bound hand and 
foot, the robbers left them, saying, " that they would bring them 
more company presently." Accordingly, they were as good as 
their word, for in less than two hours they contrived to .ncrease the 
number to twelve, on which Ned cried, " There are now twelve of 
you, all good men and true ; so bidding you farewell, you may 
give in your verdict against us as you please, when we are gone, 
though it will be none of the best; but to give us as little trouble 
as possible, we shall not now stay to challenge any of you. So, 
once more, farewell." 

Ned Bonnet and his comrades now going to the place of rendez- 
vous, to make merry with what they had got, which was at a by 
.«ort of an inn standing somewhat out of the high road betwecu 
a taw ib :-i 1 and Grantham, it happened at night to rain very bira, 


so that one Mr. Randal, a pewterer, living near Marygold-Alley, 
in the Strand, before it was burnt down, was obliged to put in 
there for shelter. Calling for a pot of ale, on which was the inn- 
keeper's name, which was also Randal, the pewterer asked him, 
being his name-sake, to sit and bear him company. 

They had not been long chatting, before Ned and one of his 
comrades came down stairs and placed themselves at the same 
table ; and understanding the name of the stranger, one ofrjhe 
rogues, fixing his eyes more intently than ordinary upon him, in 
a fit of seeming joy leaped over the table, and embracing the 
pewterer exclaimed, " Dear Mr. Randal! who would have thought 
to have seen you here ! it is ten years, I think, since I had the 
happiness to be acquainted with you." 

Whilst the pewterer was recollecting whether he could call this 
spark to mind or not, for it came not into his memory that he had 
ever seen him in his life, the highwayman again cried out, " A] as ! 
Mr. Randal, I see now 1 am much altered, since you have forgotten 
me." Here, being arrived at a ne plus ultra, up started Ned, and 
with as great apparent joy said to his companion, " Is this Harry, 
the honest gentleman in London, whom you so often used to praise 
for his great civility and liberality to all people ? Surely then we 
are very happy in meeting thus accidentally with him." 

By this discourse they would almost have persuaded Mr. Randal 
that they perfectly knew him; but being sensible of the contrary, 
he very seriously assured them, that he could not remember that 
he ever had seen any of them in his life. " No !" said they, struck 
with seeming astonishment; " it is strange we should be altered so 
much within these few years." 

But to evade further ill-timed questions, the rogues insisted upon 
Mr. Randal's supping with them, which invitation he was by no 
means permitted to decline. 

By the time they had supped, in came four more of Ned's com- 
rades, who were invited also to sit down, and more provisions were 
called for, which were quickly brought, and as rapidly devoured. 

When the fury of consuming half a dozen good fowl* ami i ther 
victuals was over, besides several flasks of wine, there was not less 
than three pounds odd money to pay. At this they stared on each 
other, and held a profound silence, whilst Mr. Randal was fumbL'ii g 
in his pocket. When they saw that he only brought forth a mouse 
from the mountain of money the thieves hoped to find piled in his 
pocket, which was only as much as his share, he that pretended to 
know him started up, and protested he should be excused for old 


acquaintance sake ; but the pewterer, not willing to be beholden # 
as indeed they never intended he should, to such companions, lest 
for this civility they should expect greater obligations from him, 
pressed them to accept his dividend of the reckoning, saying, if 
they thought it equitable he would pay more. 

At last one of them, tipping the wink, said, " Come come, what 
needs all this ado ? let the gentleman, if he so pleases, present us 
with this small treat, and do you give him a larger at his taking his 
farewell in the morning.'* Mr. Randal not liking this proposal, it 
was started that he and Ned should throw dice to end the contro- 
versy ; and fearing he had got into bad company, to avoid mischief, 
Randal acquiesced to throw a main who should pay the whole shot, 
which was so managed that the lot fell upon Randal. By this 
means Randal, having the voice of the whole board against him, 
was deputed to pay the whole reckoning; though the dissembling 
villains vowed and protested they had rather it had fallen to any of 
them, that they might have had the honour of treating him. 

Mr. Randal concealed his discontent at these shirking tricks as 
well as he could; and they perceiving he would not engage in gam- 
ing, but counterfeited drowsiness, and desired to be a-bed, the 
company broke up, and he was shown to his lodging, which he 
barricaded as well as he could, by putting old chairs, stools, and 
tables against the door. Going to bed and putting the candle out, 
he fell asleep ; but was soon awaked by a strange walking up and 
down the room, and an outcry of murder and thieves. 

At this surprising noise he leaped out of bed, and ran to the door, 
to see whether it was fast or not : and finding nothing removed, (for 
the highwaymen came into his chamber by a trap-door which was 
behind the hangings,) he wondered how the noise should be there 
in his apartment, unless it was enchanted; but as he was about to 
remove the barricade to run and raise the house, he was surrounded 
by a crew, who, tying and gagging him, took away all his clothes, 
and left him to shift for himself as well as he could. 

One day, having the misfortune to have his horse shot under 
him, Bonnet embraced the first, opportunity to take a good gelding 
from the grounds of the man who kept the Red Lion inn. Being 
again equipped like a gentleman, he rode into Cambridgeshire, 
and met with a gentleman, who informed him that he had well 
nigh been robbed, and requested him to ride along with him for 
protection. As a highwayman is never out of his way, he complied, 
and, at a convenient place, levied a contribution, as protector of 
the gentleman, by emptying his pockets of eighty guineas. He. 


however, had the generosity to give him half-a- crown to carry him 
to the next town. 

After having, according to computation, committed three hun- 
dred robberies, another thief, being apprehended, in order to save 
his own life, informed against Bonnet, who was apprehended, not 
upon the highway, but in his own lodgings, and sent to Newgate, 
and at the next assizes carried down to Cambridge, sentenced, and 
executed before the castle, on the 28th March, 1713, to the gteat 
jo) of the county, which had suffered severely by his depredations. 


This man was born at Ramsey, in Hampshire, and was oound an 
apprentice to a barber in Winchester. In that station he acquitted 
himself so well, that he received his master's daughter in marriage ; 
but, after remaining with her about seven or eight years, he went 
to reside with another woman, who had an annuity of 50/. 

To gratify his vicious inclinations, his time was chiefly spent in 
the company of the most abandoned men and women ; and it was 
not long before he excelled them in every species of wickedness. 

Not long after he went to reside with the annuitant, he set up an 
alehouse, but was soon arrested on an action at the instance of a 
soldier in the foot-guards, for keeping company with his wife, 
whom he aided in her robberies, until she was condemned. When 
arrested, no person would bail him out; and he had not been long 
confined before no less than forty robberies were laid to his charge ; 
but no prosecution being instituted against him, he was admitted 
to bail. Being a prisoner on the first action, he removed himself 
by a writ of habeas corpus to the Fleet-prison, but was, not lon«r 
after, removed to Newgate, upon an accusation of blasphemy. 
He was tried before Justice Parker, who sentenced him to stain 
tv^'ce in the pillory, once at Charing-cross, and once without Tem- 
ple-bar, and to suffer imprisonment during a year. 

His time being expired, he became a bailiff's follower ; but, th 
being a poor trade, he again began to make free with other men's 
property. A coat and two periwigs became his prize, for wliuli 
he was unluckily committed to Newgate. He was found guilt- , 
burned in the hand, and ordered to hard labour in Bridewell f t 
twelve montns. 


Accordingly, along with William Lowther and Charles Hough. 
ton, he was carried to Bridewell, but when Captain Bureman was 
going to put them in irons they rebelled. Houghton was shot dead, 
Lowther wounded, and Keele had one of his eyes shot out. But 
having killed Edward Perry, one of the turnkeys, they were com- 
mitted again to Newgate, Keele was maintained in prison by Isabel 
Thomas, for whom an arrest was formerly issued against him by 
her husband. She was a notorious thief, had been married to 
many husbands, and was burnt several times in the hand; but 
was at last tried, condemned, and executed for theft. 

In addition to the villainies of Keele, before he was committed 
on this occasion, he was one time in want of money, having paid 
twenty or thirty pounds to an adversary, and meeting an honest 
man called Bond and Judgment, from his lending money on bond 
and when it became due pushing very hard for payment, he com- 
manded him to " Stand and deliver !" Bond and Judgment answer- 
ed, " Do you know me, sir?" — "Ay," replied Dick, " you villain ! 
1 know you to be a mercenary rogue, who would send your mother 
and father to gaol for the fillip of a farthing : therefore it is but a 
just judgment befallen you, to take all you have from you." So 
clapping a pistol to his breast, poor Bond and Judgment was under 
the necessity of stopping the force of the bullet by threescore gui. 
neas. This so lessened his stock, that when he was, not long after 
lodged in Newgate, he found a difficulty in raising as much money 
as would suffice to remove his carcase to the King's Bench prison. 
At another time, Keele being well mounted, and accoutred with 
sword and pistol, met an officer, lately a tradesman, on Hounsiow- 
heath. Keele gave him the word of command, " Stand and de 
liver !" He was indeed at a stand, but supposing that the colour 
of his coat would inspire Dick with fear, said, " Don't you see 
what livery 1 wear ?" — " See whose livery you wear !" replied Dick. 
" You are a footman ?" — " No," said the other, " I am an officer 
in the army, therefore at your peril be it, if you presume to stop 
me when I am upon lawful occasions." — " Nay," said Dick, " if 
you go about lawful occasions, I am about unlawful; therefore, 
deliver what you have, or we must try who is the better man." — " I 
don't bear a commission to fight with highwaymen," cried the quan- 
dum shopkeeper ; " I only wear her Majesty's cloth to fight for my 
queen and country." — " Why then," replied Dick, " neither this 
cloth, nor any other, must be protection against my arrest; there- 
fore, as Che pistol is my tip-staff, I demand your money upon pain 
of death," But finding no money, he stripped off his coat, waist- 


coat, and small-clothr i, and ordered him to get another suit, antf 
place it to the account of the regiment. 

Dick was at last brought to his trial, and the evidence being 
decisive against him, he and William Lowther were both sentenced 
to death. In consequence of the influence of a sister who lived 
with a gentleman of rank, he was confident that he should obtain 
a pardon, but was miserably disappointed. 

It may be proper to remark, that it was his usual custom to boa^st 
in all manner of wickedness, and to say, that should he ever come 
under sentence of death, he would never behave himself similar 
to the generality of those in that condition ; that he should neither 
confess his crimes, shed a tear, nor show the least contrition or 
uneasiness. But when he came to be in that situation, he was 
neither without his dread, nor the expression of his awful forebod- 
ings. He suffered for his offences on the 23rd of December, J 713 


The first of these was a waterman, and born in South wark. The 
second was a dung-bargeman, and born in Barnaby-street. Enter- 
ing*into company, they robbed shops and ships, during the space 
of two years with considerable success : they then ascended to the 
second degree of robbery, and broke several houses in Southwark. 
Associating themselves with another, they broke into a watch- 
maker's shop, and extracted twenty-six watches; but the stranger 
becoming evidence, our two trusty friends were lodged in Newgate, 
tried and condemned, but received a pardon, in consequence of 
which they were again let loose upon the community. Ogden one 
evening met a parson walking home under the light of the moon, 
and approached him in the character of a seaman in great poverty 
and distress. His dismal narrative excited the compassion of the 
parson, who gave him a sixpence. The parson had not proceeded 
far when Ogden met him again, and renewed his request. " You 
are the most impudent beggar that over I met with," cried the re- 
verend gentleman. Ogden told him that he was in very great 
want, and that the sixpence he had received would not supply his 
necessities. He then gave him half-a-crown. Ogden said, "These 
are very sad times, for there's horrid robbing abroad, therefore, if 
you have any more money about you, you may as well let me h*vG 


it as another, who perhaps may abuse you, and binding you hand 
and foot, make you lie in the cold all night; but if you'll give me 
your money, I'll take care of you, and conduct you very safely 

The parson made a virtue of necessity, and gave him all his 
money, which was about 40*. Ogden then said, " I see you have 
a watch, sir ; you may as well let me have that too." The parson 
complied, and as they were plodding along, two or three fellows 
came out upon them, to whom Ogden cried " the moon shines 
bright," when they let them proceed. They had only gone a short 
way, when the same scene was repeated, but at last the parson was 
brought safely to his own door. He requested his guide to go in, 
assuring him that he should receive no injury; but the latter de- 
clined his offer. The good parson then brought a bottle of wine, 
and drinking to Ogden, gave him the bottle and the glass to help 
himself, upon which he ran off with both. 

Upon another day, meeting Beau Medlicote, he was commanded 
to " stand and deliver." The beau pretended to make some re- 
sistance with his sword, but pistols being produced, he was con- 
strained to yield. There were only two half-crowns found in his 
pocket, and one of them was bad. Upon this he received a com- 
plete caning for presuming to carry counterfeit money. 

Some time after this, Ogden and Reynolds, in company with one 
Bradshaw, the grandson of Serjeant Bradshaw, who condemned 
King Charles I. to death, were watching in a wood for some booty. 
A poor servant girl was returning home from her service, with a 
box upon her head : Bradshaw was deemed a sufficient match for 
her; accordingly, he alone rushed out of the wood, and seized her 
box in which were her clothes and 15*. being all her wages for 
three months' services. When he had broken up her box and was 
rifling it, there happening to be a hammer in it, she suddenly 
seized the hammer, and gave him a blow upon the temple, which 
was followed by another equally well directed, with the claw of 
the hammer, into his windpipe, on which the villain immediately 

In a short time a gentleman came up, to whom she related the 
whole adventure ; he went up to the deceased, and found in his 
pockets 80 guineas, and a whistle. Perceiving its use, he imme- 
diately whistled, when Ogden and Reynolds in a moment rushed 
from the wood ; but discovering that it was a wrong person who 
ga/e the signal, they with equal speed ran back. The gentleman 


carried the girl before a magistrate, became bail for her appear- 
ance, and being tried, she was acquitted. 

At another time, these two men met a tallyman, well known tor 
his commerce of two kinds with the hawkers in St. Giles's. They 
employed the common phrase, " stand and deliver!" In a piteous 
tone the victim entreated them to spare a poor man who was at 
great pains to acquire his daily bread. In a violent passion Ogden 
exclaimed, " Thou spawn of hell ! have pity on thee ! l^o, 
sirrah ! I know you too well, and I would almost as soon be kind to 
a bailiff or an informing constable. A tallyman and a rogue are 
terms of similar import. Every Friday you set up a tenter in the 
Marshalsea Court, upon which you rack and stretch poor prisoners, 
like English broad-cloth, beyond the staple of the wool, till the 
threads crack, which causes them with the least wet to shrink, and 
presently wear threadbare. I say that you and all your calling are 
worse rogues than ever were hanged at Tyburn." After this elo- 
quent harangue, he took whatever he found upon him, stripped 
him naked, bound him hand and foot, and left him under a hedge 
to ruminate on his former villainies. 

These two rogues continued their depredations until justice at 
length overtook them, and at Kingston-upon-Thames they were 
sentenced. They were unsuccessful in attempting to break out of 
the Stock-house; and such was the indifference of Ogden, that 
when he was going to the place of execution, he threw a handful 
of money among the crowd, saying, " Gentlemen, here is poor 
Will's farewell." 

They were executed on the 2d of April, 1714. 


The depravity of human nature was exemplified in its full extent 
in the character of John Price. The indigence and profligacy of 
his parents were such, that he received no education, and he was 
sent into the world to shift for himself, at the age of seven. Before 
this period, he was a proficient both in cursing and lying. It is 
rather a singular fact, that his habitual lying was once a means of 
saving his life. 

About the age of eighteen he was serving a gentlemau in the 


country, who turned him off for his notorious falsehoods. In going 
to London he robbed a woman of eighteen shillings, was appre- 
hended in the act, and convicted ; but his late master, who was 
sheriff, took pity upon his situation, and saved his life. Informed 
of this, the judges at the next assizes blamed the gentleman's con- 
duct for allowing a man to escape who had pleaded guilty. The 
sheriff acknowledged that such a man had been condemned at the 
last assizes ; but then, he knew the fellow to be such an unaccount- 
able liar, that there was no believing one word he said; so he 
pleading guilty to what was laid to his charge, was in his opinion 
a sufficient reason for his being believed innocent of the fact, and 
he would not hang an innocent man for the world. This reply 
made the judges smile, and he was dismissed with a severe repri- 
mand, and cautioned not to come before them again. 

Upon obtaining his liberty, Price went to London; associated 
with a band of robbers, and in a short time was apprehended diving 
into another person's pocket instead of his own, and for that crime 
committed to Newgate. He was accordingly sentenced to a severe 
whipping, and sent on board a man-of-war ; but after he had re- 
ceived the punishment assigned to stealing from the sailors, he was 
discharged from the ship. 

He hastened again to London, joined another association of 
thieves, and abandoned himself to all manner of wickedness. 
One evening his gang divided themselves into three companies. 
The first met an attorney, near Hampstead, whom they robbed of 
eight guineas. The unfortunate lawyer had not gone far when he 
was attacked by the second party, to whom he related his misfor- 
tunes, and into what cruel hands he had fallen. "Cruel!" said 
one of them : " how dare you use these terms ? And who made 
you so bold as to talk to us with your hat on ? Pray, sir, be pleas- 
ed henceforward to learn more manners." They then snatched 
off his hat and wig ; and took a diamond ring from his finger. As 
he was plodding his way home, uncertain which road was safest, 
the third division came up to him near Kentish Town, bringing 
with them a man whom they pretended to have completely strip- 
ped, and constrained the lawyer to clothe the naked with his own 
coat and waistcoat ; then told him he might be thankful he got oft" 
with his life, which he employed in sowing division amongst 

In a short time after this, Price and a companion one evening 
entered a garret, in which there was nothing but lumber, with trie 
intention of robbing the house when all was silent. But in the 


dark, as Price was laying his hand upon a pistol which he had 
placed upon the table, it went off and alarmed the whole hou*e. 
His comrade instantly ran to the window, where they fastened a 
rope for their escape, and his companion attempting to slide down, 
the rope soon broke, though he was not so much injured but he got 
away. Price seeing the extreme danger of being caught, remov- 
ed the rope to another window, and it conveyed him to a balcony. 
He was, however, scarcely there, when all the people in the house 
were alarmed; on which he leaped into a large basket of eg£s 
which a man was carrying upon his head, from Newgate market; 
so that the fall being broken, he was able to make his escape amid 
the cry of thieves ! 

Jack now began to be so well known about town, that he found 
it necessary to remove to tne country. He was there most indus- 
trious in stripping the hedges of the linen that he found upon 
them. Putting up at an inn, the landlord soon understood from 
his discourse, that he was a servant who would suit him, and there- 
fore hired him as his tapster. It was this miscreant landlord's 
custom to murder travellers who put up at his house; but one gen- 
tleman being warned by a maid of his danger, provided for nil 

Among other things the maid informed him that it was usual 
for the landlord to ring a bell, on which an assassin, pretending to 
be a servant, entered the chamber, snuffed out the candle, when 
the other villains rushed in and murdered the stranger. The gen- 
tleman caused the maid to place a lantern with a candle in it 
under a stool, and he laid his arms ready and stood upon his guard. 
Scarcely had he sat himself down when it happened as the girl had 
mentioned ; but the gentleman, with the assistance of his servant, 
killed two of the villains and put the rest to flight. He then seiz- 
ed the innkeeper and his wife, carried them before a magistrate, 
and they were indicted to stand trial at the next assizes. From 
ths maid's deposition it appeared that fourteen strangers had been 
murdered by them, and that their bodies were concealed in uu 
arched vault in the garden, to which there was a passage from the 
cellar. Both were executed, and the innkeeper hung in chains. 

Jack having once more escaped death, returned to his pilfering 
trade, was committed to Newgate, and whipped for his crimes. 
But Jack was now determined to follow the example of the great 
ones of the earth, and to better his circumstances by marriage. 
Accordingly, he married one of the name of Betty, who gained 
her livelihood by running of errands to the prisoners of Newgale 


Nor *vas Jack, like too many, disappointed in his matrimonial 
connexion, for he was soon elevated to be hangman to the county 
Oj Middlesex. In this station he assumed great importance, and 
held a levee every day that he did business at Tyburn; but though 
he sometimes ran in debt, yet he was always very willing to work 
in order to pay his obligations. But envy reached even him, and 
he lost his place by means of one who had greater ministerial inte- 
rest. But Jack could never be destitute while he had hands and 
fingers to lay hold of whatever was within his reach. 

He at last suffered from having assaulted a watchman's wife, 
whom he met in Bunhill Fields, and used in such a barbarous 
manner that she died in a few days of her wounds. Two men 
suddenly came up to him, and, being seized, he was secured in 
Newgate. After his trial and condemnation, he remained impeni- 
tent, and endeavoured, by intoxication, to stifle the forebodings of 
conscience. He was hanged on the 31st of May, 1718. 


Ihere are some rogues who are far elevated above ordinary cul 
prits. They aspire to eminence in the awful field of criminality. 
Among this number was Joseph Blake, who, it would appear, was 
solicitous to acquire distinction, by superior acts of villainy alone. 

He was a native of London, and received a decent education 
from his parents, but it was his misfortune to associate with a wicked 
companion, who, at an early period, initiated him into the mys- 
teries of iniquity. When he returned from school, he refused to 
go to any industrious employment, and boldly commenced robber 
at the age of seventeen. It was his fortune, almost on every occa- 
sion, to meet with detection, but still he pursued his course. 

Blake entered at last into a famous gang of highwaymen, and 
one evening they robbed a man of 8,?. and a gilt-handled sword. 
A woman perceived it from a window, and gave the alarm; one of 
the thieves fired at her, but drawing in her head, she was saved, 
and the ball grazed the sill. Blake was also with the same gang 
when they attacked Captain Langley, but that gentleman made 
such a stout resistance that they could not rob him. Wilkinson, 
one ot the chief of this gang, was apprehended, and in order to 
save niOiselt, informed against several others. By means of Jr- 

tio English highwaymen. 

evidence, no fewer than seventy were discovered ; and even Wil- 
kinson was a second time seized, on account of farther guiJt oe'.ng 
charged against him. 

The inclination to discovery being begun, Blake also commenced 
informer, and by his means no less than about twelve robberies 
were revealed. On making these discoveries, he obtained his 
liberty, and when he was discharged at the Old Bailey, a person 
humorously asked him how long it would be beforp he was there 
again? A gentleman replied, " Three years.'* Blake kept bis 

The moment he w r as at liberty, ne again commenced with Jack 
Shepherd. One day they met with one Purgitor considerably 
intoxicated, when Blake knocked him down, and threw him into 
a ditch, where he must have perished, had it not been for the com- 
passion of Shepherd, who kept his head above water. For this 
crime two brothers in the Guards were tried, and if they had not 
been saved by several persons swearing that they were upon duty 
at the time, they would certainly have suffered; for the fact was 
sworn against them. The eldest of these brothers died within a 
week after his liberation, and did not live to see his innocence 
vindicated by the confession of Blake. 

At another time, Blake and Shepherd broke into a house, and 
carried off goods to a considerable amount. They were both 
apprehended, tried, and condemned; but the latter escaping from 
the condemned hole, his life was prolonged for a little time. 

Blake behaved in the most audacious manner at his trial ; and 
when he saw that nothing could save him from death, he was re- 
solved to deserve it better. Accordingly, taking the opportunity 
of Jonathan Wild coming to speak with him, he cut Wild's throat 
with a penknife. Of this wound Wild languished long, but at last 
recovered. But if the wound of Blake had proved mortal, it would 
have prevented a more shameful death. It may, however, be 
remarked, that whatever Wild might merit from the hands of others, 
this was ungrateful enough on the part of Blake, because Wild 
was not only at the expense of curing a wound that the other had 
received, but gave him 3s. Gd. after his sentence, and promised 
him a decent coffin. 

During the whole time of his confinement in prison, he displaved 
the most hardened indifference and contempt, and seemed only to 
regret that he had not been guilty of more numerous and nefarious 
actions. He was executed in 1724, in the twenty-eighth year ox 
his age. 



The father of the celebrated John Shepherd was a carpenter in 
Spitalfields, of good character, and. exceedingly solicitous to train 
up his children in the path of sobriety and religion. They, however, 
afforded a melancholy proof that the most virtuous example, and 
the soundest principles, are frequently unsuccessful in influencing 
the conduct of children. Two of his sons followed evil courses, 
and were convicted at the bar of the Old Bailey. 

After his father's death, young Shepherd was sent to a school in 
Bishopsgate-Street, where he received the rudiments of education, 
and was bound apprentice to a cane chair-maker. His master used 
him very well, and he lived very comfortably with him; but this 
master dying, he was sent to another, who treated him so very 
harshly that he eloped. In a short time, he commenced his depre- 
dations, and, in place of his formsr sober mode of life, his time 
was spent in drinking all day, and retiring to an infamous abode 
all night. 

The history of this unfortunate man adds another to the many 
examples already given in this volume, that the company of profli- 
gate women has plunged men into scenes of dissipation and vice, 
to which they would have been entire strangers, had it not been 
for such associates. He was first enamoured of one Elizabeth Lion, 
a woman remarkable for her stature and strength. Having sepa- 
rated from her, he associated with one who stimulated him to all 
manner of pilfering, in order that he might be the better able to 
feed her extravagances. 

One day, informing her that she had received his last half-crown, 
she instigated him to rob a wealthy pawnbroker. Shepherd left 
her about one in the morning, and returned with goods to the 
amount of twenty-two pounds. It was not long before the two who 
had planned the robbery, exhausted the booty. 

The first favourite of Shepherd was committed to St. Giles's 
round-house, for some pilfering pranks. Jack went to see her, 
broke open the doors, beat the keeper, and set Bess Lion at liberty. 
It is scarcely necessary to add, that this action gained him great 
fame among ladies of her description, and stimulated him to more 
daring acts of depredation. 


About thio period Jack supplied his brother with a little money 
to equip him for the honourable profession he himself followed; 
and they broke into a linen draper's shop, from whence they ex- 
tracted goods to the amount of fifty pounds. The younger brother, 
however, being rather a novice in the art, was* too open in the dis- 
posal of the goods, by which means he was detected, and his first 
return for the kindness of his brother was to inform upon him and 
several of his confederates. Jack Shepherd was accordingly •ap- 
prehended, and committed to the round-house for farther exami- 
nation. This place could not long retain so bold a spirit, and 
marching off, he that very evening committed a robbery, and 
vowed to be revenged upon Tom for his ungenerous conduct. 

Detection proved no reformation. Jack, in company with one 
Benson, attempting to steal a gentleman's watch, was discovered 
and committed to New Prison. The first person whom he discerned 
was his old favourite Bess Lion, who had been sent there upon 
a similar errand. After exerting all his cunning and stratagem 
in vain, Bess and he by force escaped, and instantly repaired to 
her old lodgings. There he remained concealed for some time, but, 
taking leave of his friend, he again associated with one Grace in 
raising contributions. These two villains becoming acquainted 
with one Lamb, an apprentice to Mr. Carter, they enticed him to 
introduce them into his master's house, from whence they extracted 
goods to a considerable amount. Shepherd and Grace, however, 
differed in the division of the spoil, and betrayed each other; when 
Grace and Lamb were apprehended. The misfortune of poor 
Lamb, who was so simply inveigled, excited the compassion of 
some gentlemen, who, by their exertions, succeeded in mitigating 
his sentence to transportation. 

The confederates of Shepherd, in order to obtain a ready market 
for their goods, employed one Field to sell them, but he being 
occasionally dilatory, they hired a warehouse, and there deposited 
what goods they stole. Field, displeased at being turned off from 
his lucrative employment, importuned them to show him their 
stores, as he had several orders for goods, and could therefore 
dispose of them to advantage. He was conducted to the warehouse 
and shown the goods, and though he had not the courage manfully 
to rob any person, yet he emptied the -warehouse of every rag it 

In the course of business, Shepherd robbed a Mr. Kneebone, 
and was tried at the ensuing sessions. He appeared simple and 
almost foolish at his trial, alleging, a* his principal dcienc* 


that Jonathan Wild had disposed of part of the property, and 
ought therefore to be punished as well as himself. He was however 
sentenced, and conducted himself, in the whole of his defence, 
more like an ignorant simple man, than one who was formed to 
excel in his own, or any other profession. 

But necessity is the mother of invention. While in the con- 
demned hole, he prevailed upon one Fowls, who was also under 
sentence of death, to lift him up to the iron spikes that were over 
the top of the door which looks into the lodge. By the aid of a 
strong tall woman, and two others, his head and shoulders were 
got through, and the whole of his body following, he was by them 
letdown, and without the least suspicion of the keepers, conveyed 
through the lodge, put into a hackney coach, and out of reach 
before the least notice of his escape could be given. 

But Jack had scarcely breathed the fresh air when he returned 
to business. He associated with one Page, a butcher, who dressed 
him in one of his frocks, and both betook themselves to the high- 
way. They went to a watchmaker's shop, in a daring manner 
broke open one of the glasses, and seized three watches before the 
boy who kept the shop could detect them. Upon this occasion 
Shepherd had the audacity to pass under Newgate. 

But as Shepherd would not conceal himself nor give over his 
depredations, he was soon apprehended and again committed to 
Newgate, was put into the stone-room, loaded with irons, and 
stapled down to the ground. Being left alone, he with a crooked 
nail opened the lock, got free of his chains, wrought out two stones 
in the chimney, entered the red-room, where no person resided, 
threw down a door, got into the chapel, broke a spike off the door, 
and by it opened four other doors, got upon the roof, and from 
thence, by the means of his blanket, went in at a garret window 
belonging to an adjacent house, and through that house into the 

The whole of this almost incredible exertion was rendered the 
more extraordinary in that his irons were on all the time. When 
at liberty, he went into an adjoining field and knocked them off; 
and, astonishing to relate, that very evening robbed a pawnbroker's 
house, where, among other things, he found a handsome suit of 
black clothes, in which he dressed himself and carried his booty 
to two of his female companions. 

lie now went to visit his companions in their scenes of iniquity, 
and drinking at a brandy shop was discovered by a boy who knew 
him. The boy had no sooner recognized Jack than he ran to give 


information, so th^t he was almost immediately apprehended and 
reconducted to his old quarters in Newgate, amid a vast crowd, 
who ran from all parts to see such an extraordinary character; but 
he was so intoxicated at the time that he was scarcely conscious of 
his miserable situation. To prevent the possibility of a third escape, 
they never permitted him to be alone, and made the contributions 
cf those who came to see and converse with such a singular charac- 
ter pav for their additional trouble. « 

He was now the topic of general conversation, and multitudes, 
not only of the common ranks of society, but many in the more 
elevated ranks of life, flocked to see him. In the most ludicrous 
and jocular manner he related his adventures, exerting all his low 
wit and buffoonery to amuse those who visited him, and to exact 
money from them. In this manner were the last days of this 
unhappy mortal spent, in diverting his mind from serious reflection, 
and the awful scene before him. Nor was he even destitute of the 
hope of pardon, from the distinguished persons who visited him, 
and who seemed to pity his misfortune. But these hopes were vain, 
and the attentions of these persons proved worse than useless. 

He was removed to the bar of the Court of King's Bench, in 
November, 1724, and an affidavit made that he was the same John 
Shepherd mentioned in the record of conviction. Judgment was 
awarded against him, and the day of his execution fixed. But 
such was his strong desire of life, and his belief that his resources 
would never fail him, that he prepared a knife to cut the ropes of 
the cart which should carry him to Tyburn, in hopes of running 
off among the crowd. This knife was, however, with no small 
difficulty taken from him by force. As his last refuge to provide 
against every possible event, he employed a friend, to whom he 
had given all the money which he had reserved from his visitors, 
to take his body away with all possible haste, — put it into a warm 
bed, and draw a little blood, thus to use every possible means to 
recover life. He iinally enjoined, that if all means should prove 
unsuccessful, his body should be decently interred, and the remain- 
der of the money given to his poor mother. 

He was conducted to the place of execution in a cart, strongly 
handcuffed, when he behaved very gravely, confessed some of the 
robberies laid to his charge, and exculpated himself from others. 
His general dexterity, and the various scenes through which he 
had passed, operated to excite in no common degree, the syiapa/Jiy 
of the multitude. 



The notorious Jonathan Wild was the son of a carpenter, whose 
family consisted of three sons and two daughters. Jonathan wan 
the eldest, and having received such an education as his father's 
circumstances would permit, he served an apprenticeship in Bir- 
mingham. He came up to London, and was for some time a 
gentleman's servant. But not relishing that mode of life, he 
returned to his business, and wrought very diligently. 

Having come back to London, he during some time worked as 
a journeyman. He, however, living above his income, was arrest- 
ed for debt. In prison he was scarcely able to exist upon the 
charity of the prisoners, but was, however, soon made under-keeper 
to the disorderly persons who were brought in at night. 

Jonathan now learned the way of getting money from these 
people, in return for instructing them how to obtain their liberty. 
Here was a woman called Mary Miller, who taught him how to 
acquire money by means to which he was an entire stranger. By 
her he was made acquainted with all those gangs of profligate 
persons that infested the town, and the manner in which they 
prosecuted their schemes. Thus instructed, he became a director 
among them, and though he never went upon the road, he obtained 
more money than some who submitted to the danger and the toil of 
procuring it. , 

It was no easy matter formerly for thieves to find persons ready 
to receive and dispose of their goods; but an act being passed, by 
which those who purchased or received stolen goods, knowing them 
to be so, were guilty of a capital crime, it became more difficult 
for them to dispose of their booty. The result was, that the trade 
was almost reduced to nothing. But the ingenuity of Wild gave 
a new turn to their commerce. 

Upon any person being robbed, Wild obtained intelligence where 
the goods were deposited, and the persons from whom they had been 
taken; and upon pretence of restoring them again, received a 
considerable gratuity. He in a short time had all the villains in 
the town under his control, and was sure to hang a few of them 
every season, to maintain his consequence among them, and to 
inspire terror, not for the law, but for himself. If any title could 


sufficiently exhibit Jonathan's character, it was that of " Director 
General of the united forces of highwaymen, house-breakers, foot- 
pads, pickpockets, and private thieves." 

In process of time, however, he laid aside his caution, took a 
larger house, and both he and the woman, who was called his wife, 
dressed more elegantly, and opened a public office for restoring 
stolen goods. His fame soon circulated, and persons of no small 
distinction applied to Wild for the recovery of watches they Jiad 
lost in their night ramblings, or goods which were extracted from 
their houses. 

When any came upon business to the office, a crown was deposit- 
ed to meet incidental expences. A large book was kept, the loser 
was examined with great minuteness, as to the time, the place, 
the manner, and the quantity of goods stolen. The person was 
dismissed with assurances that every possible search would be made. 
When he returned, the same would be repeated, and the person 
informed that they were not yet found, though perhaps they were 
in the house the first time the person called. Perhaps after a few 
more calls, Wild would inform the person, " That, provided no 
questions were asked, and he gave so much money to the porter 
who brought them, the goods would be returned at such an hour." 
At the same time Wild would protest, in the most open and frank 
manner, " That what he did was purely from a principle of doing 
good; as to a gratuity for the trouble he had taken, he left it 
entirely to themselves." And when money was presented, he 
received it with apparent negligence and reluctance. 

In this manner he evaded the power of the law. He neither saw 
the thief, nor received the goods from him. It was not long, how- 
ever, before he had become so necessary to these gentry, that when 
he received the goods in his possession, he gave the thief what share 
of the plunder he pleased, and if he was not satisfied with Wild's 
offer, he was pretty certain of detection and the gallows. 

After Wild had carried on his plan for several years, an act of 
parliament was passed, chiefly directed against him, declaring it 
capital to recover stolen goods in this way. Though Wild was 
prudent and cautious in the extreme, during the first years of 
his practice, yet in his latter years, he became hardened and 
careless; therefore, continuing his practices, in defiance of that 
law, he was apprehended, tried, and condemued. When the usual 
question was put to him, " What have you to say why judgment 
of death shall not pass upon you ?" — he, in a very feeble voice, 
said, " My Lord, I hope I may, even in the sad condition in which 


I *;and, pretend to some little merit, in respect of the services I 
have done my country, in delivering it of some of the greatest pests 
with which it was ever troubled. My Lord, I have brought many 
a bold and daring malefactor to just punishment, even at the hazard 
of my own life ; my body being covered with scars received in these 
undertakings. I presume, my Lord, to say I have some merit, 
oecause at the time these things were done, they were esteemed 
meritorious by the government; and therefore I beg, my Lord, 
some compassion may be shown upon the score of these services. 
I submit myself wholly to his Majesty's mercy, and humbly beg 
a favourable report of my case." Under sentence of death, his 
conduct was little calculated to excite pity for his untimely end; 
and the day before his execution, he drank a large quantity of 
laudanum, but having emitted it, the poison had not the desired 
effect. Instead of expressing compassion, the multitude, when he 
was being conveyed in the cart to Tyburn, threw stones and mud, 
and exulted in his fall. He was allowed to sit a little in the cart, 
but the multitude became enraged, calling upon the executioner 
to dispatch him, or they would tear him to pieces. 

Jonathan Wild is immortalized by the inimitable work of Fielding 
bearing his name; but there is nothing in the mean and dastardly 
nature of the man that renders him worthy even of being " damned 
to everlasting fame," by our great ixovelist. 


There never, perhaps, was a man in the particular profession to 
wnich this notorious fellow devoted himself, whose name was more 
familiar in the mouths of the common people than that of Richard 
Turpin. But, since it invariably happens that a certain proportion 
of curiosity respecting the life and actions of a man is sure to beget 
a corresponding desire to satisfy it, we cannot wonder if the per- 
plexed biographer should sometimes resort to fiction to supply the 
deficiencies of fact. Hence it has happened that certain exploits 
have been attributed to Turpin which do not properly belong to 
him ; amongst others, the unparalleled ride from York to London 
in an unprecedentedly short period, performed, it is averred, on a 
single horse. We have never been able to find any authentic 
account of this feat, nor have we, as yet, discovered any con- 


ceivable necessity that should compel him to such a rapid journey. 
Turpin was never tried but once, and that was, indeed, at York , 
but the reader will perceive that he had no opportunity of escape, 
nor did he attempt any thing of the kind after his first appre- 

Richard Turpin was ths son of John Turpin, of Hempstead in 
Essex, and was put apprentice to a butcher in Whitechapel, where 
he served his time, during which period he was frequently guilty 
of misdemeanors, and conducted himself in a loose and disorderly 
manner. As soon as his time was up, he married, and set up in 
business for himself at Suson in Essex, where having no credit in 
the market, and no money in his pocket, he was shortly reduced 
to the necessity of maintaining himself by indirect practices; and, 
accordingly, very often used to rob the neighbouring gentry of 
sheep, lambs, and oxen. Upon one occasion, he stole a couple of 
oxen from a farmer at Plaistow, which he caused to be conveyed to 
his own house and cut up. Two of the men belonging to the farm, 
having a suspicion of Turpin, went to his house, and seeing an 
ox slaughtered, were convinced of his guilt ; and having traced the 
sale of the hides, returned to Suson to apprehend him. Turpin, 
apprized of their intention, left them in the front-room, jumped 
out of a window and made his escape. 

By this time his character b»d become notorious, and he never 
could entertain a thought of returning to Suson, or of following 
the trade of a butcher in that county. He, accordingly, resolved 
to commence smuggler, and raising as much money as he could 
scrape together, he betook him to the hundreds of Essex, where 
he soon became connected with a gang of smugglers. This his 
new profession he followed for some time with tolerable success; 
bat fortune taking a turn, he lost all that he had acquired; upon 
which he began to turn his thoughts to another, but by no means 
a more honest, way of life. In a word, he connected himself with 
a gang of deer-stealers, who, finding him a desperate fellow, and 
fit for their purpose, admitted him among them. This desperate 
gang, afterwards known and feared under the title of the Essex 
Gang, not only robbed the forest of deer, but thinned several 
gentlemen's parks of them, insomuch that they obtained a con- 
siderable sum of money. They followed deer-stealing only for some 
time; but not finding the money come in so quickly as they wished, 
and being narrowly watched by the park-keepers, they, by Turpin' > 
direction, resolved to go round the country at nights, and when 
they could find a house that had any thing valuable in it, one wai 

Page 223. 


to knock at the door, which being opened, the rest should rush in 
and plunder it, not only of plate, but of household goods. 

The first person attacked in this manner was a Mr. Strype, an 
old man who kept a chandler's-shop at Watford ; from whom they 
only took the money he had by him; but Turpin informed his 
companions that he knew an old woman at Loughton, who,., he 
was certain, had seven or eight hundred pounds in her possession. 
The plan being declared feasible, away they went, and coming to 
the door, one of them knocked, and Turpin and the rest of the 
gang rushed in. The first thing they did was to blindfold the old 
lady and her maid. Turpin then examined the former touching 
her money, upon which she declared that she had none, being 
naturally loth to part with it. Some of the gang were inclined to 
believe her, but Turpin, with an oath, declared that if she remained 
obstinate he would set her on the fire. The poor old lady, imagin- 
ing that this was a mere threat, suffered herself to be lifted on the 
fire, till the anguish she had endured for a long time, compelled 
her to disclose, and the gang retired with about 400J. 

They then consulted together who should be their next victim, 
and agreed to wait upon a farmer, near Ripple Side. The people 
within not answering the door so soon as they would fain have had 
it opened, they broke in, and according to their old custom, tied 
the old man, the old woman, the servant-maid, and the farmer's 
son-in-law. They then ransacked the house, and robbed the old 
farmer of about 700/. Turpin, seeing so considerable a booty, 
cried, " Ay, this would do, if it were always so," their share being 
about 80/. a man. 

The success the gang met with, made them resolve to proceed 
against those who had attempted to detect them. They accordingly 
agreed to attack the house of Mason, the keeper of Epping Forest. 
The time was fixed when the house was to be attacked; but Turpin 
having still a great deal of money in his possession, could not 
refrain from coming up to London to spend it; and, getting drunk, 
forgot the appointed time for putting their design into execution; 
however, the rest, resolving not to be baulked, set out for Mason's 
after having bound themselves by oath not to leave one whole piece 
of goods in the house. Accordingly they went, broke open the 
door, beat poor Mason in a cruel manner, and finally killed him 
under the dresser. An old man sitting by the fireside, who declared 
that he knew nothing of them, got off untouched. After ransacK- 
uig the lower part of the house, and doing much mischief, iaty 
iuuceeded up.stairs, and broke every thing in their way; at la< 


t&pying a punch-bowl, they broke that, when out dropped a hundr?d 
nud twenty guineas, which they seized upon and made off with. 

Turpin, with five others, in January, 1735, came to the dour of 
Mr. Saunders, a wealthy farmer, at Charlton in Kent, and knock- 
ing, inquired if the gentleman of the house was at home : he was 
answered he was, and that being the signal, they rushed in, and 
going directly to the parlour where Mr. Saunders, his wife, and 
some friends were amusing themselves at a quiet game of caids, 
desired them on no account to be alarmed, for that they would 
not hurt their persons, if they sat still and made no disturbance. 
A silver snuff-box that lay upon the table, Turpin at once appro- 
priated to himself, and the rest having bound the company, obliged 
Mr. Saunders to accompany them about the house, and open his 
closets and boxes, to prevent the necessity of laying violent hands 
upon them, and perhaps upon himself. They then possessed them- 
selves of upwards of a hundred pounds in money, besides other 
property, including all the plate in the house. While this was 
proceeding, the maid-servant, a girl with some presence of mind, 
ran up-stairs, and barring herself in one of the rooms, called out 
lustily at the window for assistance; but one of the rogues following 
her, broke open the door with a poker, and brought her down again. 
In their search for all things of value in the house, they hit upon 
some bottles of wine, a bottle of brandy, and some mince-pies, 
with which they immediately sat down and regaled themselves, 
inviting the company to partake, indeed compelling them to drink 
a dram of brandy each, to work off the fright. Mrs. Saunders, 
however, fainted, and a glass of water with some drops in it was 
instantly provided, with which they bathed her temples, and were 
very anxious for her recovery. After staying about two hours in 
the house, they packed up their plunder, and made off with it, 
threatening the inmates of the house, that, if thoy stirred within 
two hours, they would murder them. 

The names of Turpin's principal associates were Fielder, Rose, 
and Walker; there was another, also, whose name we have Dot 
learned. These made an appointment to rob a gentleman's house 
at Croydon, and for that purpose, agreed to meet at the Halt' Moon 
tavern, which they accordingly did, about six o'clock in the even- 
ing. Walker, having some knowledge of the house, went at the 
head of his companions into the yard, and found the coachman 
dressing his horses; him they bound, and going from thence met 
Mr. Sheldon the master, whom they seized and compelled to sijw 
them the way to the house. As soon at they entered, they tied 


Mr, Sheldon's hands behind him with cords-, and having served 
the rest of the family after the same fashion, fell to plundering the 
house. Eleven guineas, and several pieces of plate, jewels, and 
other things of value, was the result of this adventure; but before 
they left the place they returned two guineas, thanked Mr. Sheldon 
for the very courteous manner with which they had been received, 
and bade him good night. 

Their next design was upon the house of Mr. Lawrence, at 
Edgeware-bury near Stanmore. About five o'clock they went from 
the Queen's Head at Stanmore, and proceeded to the destined 
spot. On their arrival, they left their horses at the outer gate, and 
climbing over the hatch into the sheep-yard, met with a boy just 
putting up some sheep. They seized him, and presenting a pisjol, 
told him they would shoot him if he offered to cry out, but if he 
would inform them truly what servants Mr. Lawrence kept, and 
who was in the house, they would give him money. The boy, 
terrified at their threats, told instantly what they desired, and 
one of them thereupon knocked at the door. When it was opened 
they all rushed in with pistols in their hands, and seizing Mr. 
Lawrence, rifled his pockets, out of which they took one guinea, 
a Portugal piece of thirty-six shillings, about fifteen shillings in 
silver, and his keys. Dissatisfied with so small a booty, they then 
drove him up-stairs, and breaking open a closet, plundered it of 
money, silver cups and spoons, gold rings, and many other things 
of value. A bottle of elder wine which they found, they divided 
amongst the servants, lifting it to their mouths, as their hands were 
pinioned behind them. A maid-servant who was churning in an 
outhouse, hearing a noise, suspected there were thieves in the 
house, and put out the candle to secret herself. One of them, 
however, discovered her, and dragging her from her hiding-place, 
menaced her with the most horrid threats if she raised an alarm. 
All of them, indeed, disappointed and enraged at their ill-success, 
(for they had calculated upon a rich return for their trouble and 
hazard,) practised, on this occasion, the most savage cruelties. 
Having stripped the house of every thing of worth, even to the 
sheets from the beds, they dragged Mr. Lawrence down stairs again, 
and declared, with the most dreadful oaths, they would cut his 
throat if he hesitated to confess what money was in the house ! and 
being answered that there was none excepting that which they had 
taken, they beat him barbarously with the but-ends of their whips, 
and inflicted a terrific cut upon his head with a pistol. One of 
them took a chopping-bill, and swore he would cleave his legs off; 


another a kettle of water from the fire, and flung on him, which 
happening, however, to have been recently filled, did no serious 
injury. In their search, besides the beforementioned particulars, 
they met with a chest belonging to one of Mr. Lawrence's sons, 
which they broke open, taking therefrom twenty pounds, and all 
his linen. Some of these things were afterwards traced to a place 
called Duck-lane, where two of these fellows were apprehended. 

Although in this robbery they got about 261. in money in* the 
whole, yet they made no fair distribution of it amongst themselves. 
The honour mentioned as existing amongst thieves, was, in this 
instance, at any rate, something of that character which distin- 
guishes their dealings with others not of their profession; for it 
appeared upon evidence, that those who were most fortunate in the 
plunder, on the division of the spoil, could bring their minds to 
produce no more than three pounds nine shillings and sixpence. 

These frequent and daring burglaries induced His Majesty to 
offer a pardon to any one of the criminals who had been concerned 
in entering the house of Mr. Lawrence, and committing such 
atrocities on the evening of the fourth of February; and further, 
a reward of bOl. to every person who should be instrumental in the 
discovery ot any of the offenders. 

Notwithstanding which, on the 7th of February, the party again 
met by appointment, having fixed upon the White Hart in Drury- 
lane, as the best place whereat to concert future depredations. 
Accordingly, they agreed upon making an attempt to rob Mr. 
Francis, a large fanner near Mary-le-bone, at whose house they 
arrived shortly after seven. The details of this outrage are much 
the same as the previous robberies in which they were engaged. 
They succeeded in obtaining thirty-seven guineas and ten pounds 
in silver, a quantity of jewels and linen, and the unfortunate Mr. 
Francis's wig, all of which they carried off; not forgetting the 
latter, the value of which, excepting to the owner, we are quite at 
a loss to conceive. 

They also formed a design to rob the house of a country justice, 
and with that intention met at a public-house near Leigh. Not 
rightly knowing, however, the way into the justice's domicile, they 
concealed themselves under some furze bushes ; but while they 
were thus lying in wait, they heard several persons riding alonj* 
together, who happened to be some of the neighbouring farmers 
returning from the table of the rustic Khadamanthus in a state of 
noisy mirth, induced, doubtless, by the genial fumes of the justice's 
wines; and by their conversation it was plain that there were others 


still remaining there, who, dreading neither riotous suousea, liot 
the midnight bottle, might probably have determined with wine 
and song to " outwatch the bear ;" they therefore deemed it advisa- 
ble not to attempt it that night, and adjourned accordingly their 
attack to some more promising period, which so far proved of ad- 
vantage to them, that it thereby prevented their being taken, as 
otherwise they unavoidably would have been ; for they had been 
observed by some of the neighbourhood, and being suspected as 
smugglers, information was given to the custom-house, and a party 
of dragoons sent out after them, whom they met; when after a 
strict search, nothing having been found upon them, they were 
suffered to pass. Thus the justice escaped. 

These daring robberies at length roused the country, and one of 
the King's keepers waited on the Duke of Newcastle, and obtained 
His Majesty's promise of a reward of one hundred pounds to him 
who should be fortunate enough to apprehend any of them. This 
made them lie a little more concealed ; but some of the keepers and 
others receiving intelligence that they were regaling themselves at 
an ale-house in Westminster, they pursued them there, and burst- 
ing open the door, took three, after a stout resistance; two of whom, 
the third turning evidence against them, were hanged in chains 
accordingly. Turpin, however, made his escape by leaping from 
a window. 

The gang thus broke up, and Turpin quite left to himself, made 
a determination never to command another, but to go altogether 
upon his own bottom; and with this view he set out for Cambridge, 
as he was not known in that county. 

Notwithstanding this resolve, the following strange encounter 
provided him with his best companion (as he would call him) before 
he reached his journey's end. King, the highwayman, who had 
been towards Cambridge on professional business, was returning 
to town. Turpin seeing him well mounted, and bearing the ap- 
pearance of a gentleman, thought it was an excellent opportunity 
to recruit his pockets, and accordingly, with a loud voice, com- 
manded King to stand. King, enjoying the joke, though at the 
prospect of a bullet through his head if he carried the jest too far, 
assumed all the conduct of a person so unceremoniously addressed. 

" Deliver!" shouted Turpin, " or by I'll let day-light through 

you." "What," said King, laughing heartily, " what I dog eat 
dog ! Come, come ! brother Turpin, if you don't know me, I know 
you, and should be glad of your company." After mutual assur- 
ances of fidelity to one another, and that nothing should part them 


till death, they agree 1 to go together upon some exploit, and met 
with a small booty that very day ; after which they continued 
together, committing divers robberies for nearly three years, when 
King was accidentally shot. 

King being very well known about the country, as likewise was 
Turpin, insomuch that no house would entertain them, they formed 
the idea of dwelling in a cave, and to that end pitched upon a place 
inclosed with a large thicket, between Loughton Road and King's- 
Oak-Road; here they made a place large enough to receive th&in 
and two horses, and while they lay concealed there, they could see 
through several holes, purposely made, what passengers went by 
on either road, and as they thought proper sallied out and robbed 
them, This they did in such a daring manner, and so frequently, 
that it was not safe for any person to travel that way, and the very 
higglers were obliged to go armed. In this *cave they drank and 
lay; Turpin's wife supplied them with food, and frequently remain- 
ed in the place all night with them. 

From the forest, King and Turpin once tc*k a ride to Bungay 
in Suffolk, where the latter had seen two young markeL-womeu 
receive thirteen or fourteen pounds, and was determined to rob 
them of it. King attempted to dissuade him from it, saying, they 
were pretty girls, and he would never be engaged in an attempt to 
deprive two hard-working women of their little gains. Turpin, 
however, persisted, and coming up with them relieved them of the 
burden of their coin, which exploit occasioned a dispute between 

As they were returning, they robbed a gentleman, who was 
taking an airing in his chariot, with his two children. King first 
attacked him, but found him so powerful and determined a person, 
returning such sound replies in the shape of blows to poor King's 
civilities, that he was fain to call upon his companion for assistance 
Their united strength at last overcame him, and they took from 
him all the money he had about him, and then demanded his watch, 
which he declined on any account to part with; but one of the 
children became frightened, and persuaded its father to let them 
have it. They then insisted upon taking a mourning ring which 
they observed he wore, and an objection was raised on his part, 
even to that proposition. Finding, however, it was useless to 
oppose them, he at length resigned it, telling them it was bet 
worth eighteen pence, but that he much valued it. Upon which 
information they returned it to him, saying, they were too much 
of gentlemen to take anything which unother valued to much. 


About this time the reward offered for the apprehension of Tur- 
pin had induced several poor, but resolute men, to make an attempt 
to get him into their power. Among the rest a man, groom to a 
Mr. Thompson, tempted by the placard setting forth the golden 
return in the event of success, connected himself with a higgler to 
ward off suspicion, and commenced his search. Turpin one day 
standing by himself in the neighbourhood of his cave, observed 
some one who, he supposed, was poaching for hares, and saluted 
him with, " No hares near this thicket; it's of no use seeking, 
you'll not find any." — " Perhaps I shall a Turpin, though," repli- 
ed the fellow, and levelled his piece at him. Seeing his danger, 
Turpin commenced a parley, retreating at the same time by degrees 
towards his cave, the groom following him with his gun presented. 
" I surrender," said Turpin, when he reached the mouth of the 
cavern, and the man dropping the point of his piece, the former 
seized his carbine, and shot him dead on the spot. Turpin instantly 
made off to another part of the country, in search of King, and 
sent his wife a letter to meet him at a certain public-house, at which 
in a few days, enquiring for her under a feigned name, he found 
she was awaiting his appearance. The kitchen where she was, 
happened to be at the back through a public room, where some 
farmers and others were regailing themselves. On passing through, 
a butcher, to whom he owed five pounds, recognized him, and tak- 
ing him aside said, " I know you have money now, Dick; if you'd 
pay me it would be of great service," — " My wife has certainly 
money to some amount," replied Turpin, with a most unmoved 
countenance ; " she is in the next place ; I'll get it of her, and pay 
you presently." When Turpin was gone, the butcher apprized the 
company who he was, and added, " I'll just get my five pounds of 
him, and then we'll take him." Turpin, however, was not to be 
so caught, and instead of going to his wife, leaped out of the next 
window, took horse, and was off in an instant, much to the dis- 
comfiture of the knight of the cleaver and the assembled company, 
who doubtless had calculated most correctly the proportion of the 
reward that would be due to each by virtue of the king's signet. 

Having discovered King, and one of his associates whose name 
was Potter, they determined to set out at once for London; and 
coming over the forest about three hundred yards from the Green 
Man, Turpin found that his horse, having undergone great fatigue, 
began to tire. On such an occasion it was no question with Turpin 
how he should provide himself with another, for, overtaking a gen- 
tleman, the owner of several race-horses, he at once appropriated 


his steed and a hands -me whip to his own peculiar use, and recom- 
mending his own broken-down jade to the kind consideration of 
the party, speaking highly of his points, left him to mount the 
sorry courser, and urge the wretched quadruped forward in the 
host way he could. 

This robbery was committed on a Saturday night, and on the 
Monday following the gentleman received intelligence, that such 
a horse as he had lost and described was left at an inn in Whi^e- 
ehapel; he accordingly went there, and found it to be the same. 
Nobody came for it at the time appointed, but about eleven o'clock 
at night, King's brother called for the horse, and was seized imme- 
diately. The whip he carried in his hand, the gentleman instantly 
identified as that stolen from him, although the button upon which 
his name had been engraved was half broken off; the latter letters 
of his name, however, were plainly distinguishable upon the re- 
maining part. They charged a constable with him, but he becom- 
ing frig'htened, and on the assurance that if he spoke the truth he 
should be released, confessed, that there was a lusty man, in a 
white duffel coat, waiting for it in a street adjoining. One Mr. 
Bayes immediately went out, and finding the man as directed, per- 
ceived it was King. Coming round upon him, Mr. Bayes (the 
then active landlord of the Green Man, to whom the gentleman at. 
the time had related the robbery,) attacked him. King immediately 
drew a pistol, which he pointed to Mr. Bayes's breast, but it luckily 
flashed in the pan. A struggle then ensued, for King was a power- 
ful man, and Turpin hearing the skirmish, came up, when King 

cried out, "Dick, shoot him, or we are taken, by !" at which 

instant Turpin fired his pistol, but it missed Mr. Bayes, and shot 
King in two places. "Dick, you have killed me, make off," were 
King's words as he fell, and Turpin, seeing what he had done, 
clapped spurs to his horse, and made his escape. King lived for a 
week afterwards, and gave Turpin the character of a coward, tell- 
ing Mr Bayes that if he pleased to take him, he was to be found 
at a certain house near Hackney Marsh, and that when he rode 
away, he had three brace of pistols about him, and a carbine slung. 
Upon inquiry, it was found that Turpin had actually been at the 
hous-2 which King mentioned, and made use of something like thfl 
lolbwing expressions to the man. " What shall I do? where shall 
1 go? Dick Bayes, I'll be the death of you; for I have lost the 
nest fellowman I ever had in my life; I shot poor King in endea- 
vouring to kill that dog." The same resolution of revenge he re- 
tained to the last, though without the power of effecting it. 


After this, he still kept about the forest, till he was narrated 
almost to death ; for he had lost his place of safety, the cave, which 
was discovered upon his shooting Mr. Thompson's groom. When 
they found the cave, there were in it two shirts in a bag, two pair 
of stockings, part of a bottle of wine, and some ham. Turpin was 
very nearly taken, while hiding in these woods, by a Mr. Ives, the 
king's huntsman, who, thinking he was secreted there, took out 
two dry-footed hounds ; but Turpin perceiving them coming, climbed 
up a tree, and saw them stop beneath it several times, as though 
they scented him, which so terrified Turpin, that as soon as they 
were gone, he made a resolution of retiring that instant to York- 

Soon after this, a person came out of Lincolnshire to Brough, 
near Market-Cave, in Yorkshire, and stayed for some time at the 
Ferry-house. He said his name was John Palmer; and he went 
from thence sometimes to live at North Cave, and sometimes at 
Welton, continuing in these places about fifteen or sixteen months, 
except such part of the time as he went to Lincolnshire to see his 
friends, which he frequently did, and as often brought three or 
four horses back with him, which he used to sell or exchange in 
Yorkshire. While he so lived at Brough, Cave, and Welton, he 
very often went out hunting and shooting with the gentleman in 
the neighbourhood. As he was returning one day from shooting, 
he saw one of his landlord's cocks in the street, and raising his 
gun, shot it dead. A man, his neighbour, witnessing so wanton 
an act, complained of such conduct, asking him by what authority 
he shot another man's property. " Wait one moment," said Mr. 
Palmer, "just stay till I have charged my piece, and I'll shoot you 
too." The landlord being informed of the loss he had sustained 
by the death of his favorite bird, and the man who saw the act, 
being enraged at the threat Palmer had used towards him, they 
both obtained a warrant against him, and he was brought up at the 
General Quarter Sessions, where he was examined. Sureties for 
his good behaviour in future were the penalty alone exacted from 
him, which, however, refusing to find, he was committed to the 
House of Correction. His conduct thus excited great suspicion; 
for it was strange that a man who was in the habit of bringing 
from his friends in Lincolnshire half-a-dozen horses at a time, and 
plenty of money, should be so forsaken as not to be able to provide 
sureties ; and still stranger, that on so trivial an occasion as the 
present, if he could find them at all, he did not produce them. A 
man's pride under other circumstances might be concerned, or a 


consciousness of innocence that excluded the possibility, or the 
benefit of release, under other conditions than free acquittal ; but 
on a charge of this nature, which might have been made up even 
by the purchase of a fowl, or a simple excuse, his refusal was very 
suspicious. Enquiries were set on foot in all quarters ; and the 
magistrate, not contented with the accounts he gave of himself of 
having been a grazier in Lincolnshire, despatched officers to learn 
how far that statement was consistent with truth. The result was 
a confirmation of Palmer's account, so far as the fact of his haVng 
lived in Lincolnshire, and having been a grazier there; that is, 
that there he had something to do with sheep, confined principally 
to the expert practice of stealing them. Mr. Palmer, upon the 
receipt of this information, was removed from the Beverley house 
of correction to York castle, and accommodated on the way with 
the use of hand-cuffs, and a guard of honour. When he arrived 
at his new abode, two persons from Lincolnshire challenged a mare 
and a foal which he had sold to a gentleman, and also the horse on 
which he rode when he came to Beverley, to be stolen from them 
off the fens in Lincolnshire. We need not add that Mr. Palmer 
was one and the same person with Dick Turpin, the notorious 

Turpin at one time, with another fellow, laid a scheme for seizing 
the Government money, ordered to be paid to the ships at Ports- 
mouth. Both of them were to have attacked the guard in a narrow 
pass, with sword and pistol in hand ; but Turpin's courage failed 
him, and the enterprize dropped. Gordon, his accomplice in this 
design, was afterwards taken on a charge in which he alone was 
concerned ; and while in Newgate he declared that " after that, 
Turpin would be guilty of any cowardly action, and die like a 

Turpin was tried and convicted of stealing the horse and the 
foal and mare from the fens, and was executed on Saturday, April 
7th, 1739. He behaved himself with remarkable assurance, and 
bowed to the spectators as he passed. It was observed that as he 
mounted the ladder his right leg trembled, on which he stamped it 
down with violence, and with daunted unfortitude looked around 
him. After speaking to the executioner for nearly half an hour, 
he threw himself off the ladder, and expired in about five minutes. 

His corpse was brought back from the gallows and buried in a 
neat coffin in St. George's churchyard. The grave was dug deep, 
and the persons he appointed to follow him (mourners we hesitate 
<o call them, for we cannot imagine anybody to mourn upon the 


aeath of such an unprecedented ruffian,) those persons whoever 
tney were, however, took all possible care to secure the corpse; 
notwithstanding which, some men were discovered to be moving 
off" the body, which they had taken up ; and the mob having got 
information where it might be found, went to a garden in which it 
was ueposited, and brought it away in a sort of triumph, and 
buried it in the same grave having first filled the coffin with slacked 


Henry Cook was one of nineteen or twenty of a family, and his 
parents were industrious and respected in their station. The 
father being a leather merchant, young Cook was instructed in the 
same business, and provided with a suitable stock. He conducted 
himself with propriety for some years, and being married to a 
reputable woman, seemed to promise a life of respectability and 
usefulness. It happened, however, that running in debt, he was 
forced to abscond, lest he should be arrested. In these unpleasant 
circumstances, he went from place to place, and being informed 
that the bailiff threatened he would have him if he stayed above 
ground, he provided a pair of pistols, and sent that officer word 
that he was prepared for his approach, and that the moment he 
came it should be his last. He therefore heard no more of him. 
After skulking about for some time, he ventured home to his 
wife one evening ; but finding a stranger there, he resolved to live 
no longer with her. He emptied his shop of what things he could 
carry, and went to secrete himself in his sister's house. He next 
provided himself with a pair of pistols, and commenced highway- 
man. Though he began on foot, he soon obtained a horse, and 
with no small success carried on his depredations. After four rob- 
beries, from which he only received thirteen pounds, thirteen 
shillings, his career was nearly terminated. Having robbed a 
gentleman of his horse, and some days after, riding along, seven 
or eight men came up to him, and had not rode a mile, when one 
of them challenged his horse, as the one advertised to have been 
stolen by a highwayman at such a time and place. " According- 
ly," says Cook, " he imperiously demanded of me an account of 
myself, and how I came by that horse. I told him that I lived iu 


London, and had purchased the horse of a man at the Bell Inn, 
at Edmonton, and that if he would go there along with me, he 
would be satisfied of the truth of what I said." By this stratagem, 
Cook hoped to have separated him from his companions, given him 
his friend's horse instead of his own, and taken his cash for giving 
him so much trouble. But all the paity went along with him, so 
that, when he came near the inn, he was greatly at a loss how to 
extricate himself from this unpleasant dilemma; but at the gate of 
the inn he put spurs to his horse, and rode down a lane ; their horses 
however, being fresher, he took toward a wood, when, his horse 
refusing to leap, four of his troublesome companions were within 
forty yards of him, when he fired, and demanded them to stand 
off. They stopped, when he alighted from his horse, and ran into 
the wood. 

Having been thus alarmed, he remained inactive for some days, 
but venturing out again, he attacked an old man, robbed him of 
his money and horse; and had not proceeded far, when he met 
another man with a better horse, which he took, and what money 
and useful articles he found upon him. The latter gentleman had 
not proceeded far on his journey, when he met the old man, who 
claimed his horse, else he would inform upon him as a robber. 
The other then gave him his horse, and walked home upon fool. 
After some days' carousing, till his money was spent, Cook went 
out again ; but, to his astonishment, within a little of the place 
where he had robbed the man of his money and his horse, he was 
dismounted, seized, carried before a magistrate, and committed 
to Newgate. His accuser, however, was so favourable as not to 
swear that he was the man who robbed him, though the animal 
upon which Cook rode was certainly the prosecutor's horse. This 
being the first time that he had been apprehended, his father and 
neighbours appeared in his behalf, got him clear off, and, elated 
with his acquittal, took him home with them to his wife and family 

Upon his return, he found his affairs in an embarrassed condition, 
and inquiring of William Taylor, the man who conducted his busi- 
ness, he found there were no good debts outstanding, nor any funds 
wherewith to renew his operations with apparent success. Thus 
circumstanced, he resolved to go to London, and purchase a pair 
of pistols, in order to rob between his own house and the forest 
until his funds were recruited. Having done so, he soon gained 
30/. and consulting with Taylor how to lay out the money, he told 
him how he had gained it, and added, " let us go and make it ten 
Umos more, and then think of buying leather." The proposal was 


accepted, and repairing to London, they purchased what things 
were necessaiy. They then commenced with great boldness stop- 
ping all coaches and individuals, so that they soon found their 
present employment a speedier way of making money than selling 
leather or making shoes. But one day attacking the stage-coach 
at Colchester, a captain Mawley shot Taylor, and his companion 
ran off. 

This accident rendered it impossible for Cook to return home; 
he therefore concealed himself for a few days, and again provided 
himself with a good horse, and went forth with the most desperate 
resolution of revenging Taylor's death, by taking the life of Captain 
Mawley, if he could possibly find him. After various daring rob- 
beries, he was at last discovered by a woman that knew him, and 
was taken; and several witnesses appearing against him, he was 
sentenced to suffer the due reward of his numerous and aggravated 




We prefer giving an abstract of the life and adventures of this 
notorious criminal in his own words, since it will serve to show 
far better than any moral reflections of our own, that when once 
the principles become vitiated, whether by early abuse or habitual 
moral recklessness, the very nature is changed, and the con- 
science remains in a state of abeyance. There is an easy uncon- 
cern, a ' young gentleman' flippancy in the style in which our ad- 
venturer has chosen to narrate his exploits, that indicates too 
plainly the utter want of common or decent feeling in his nature, 
and leaves us to the unavoidable conclusion that under no possible 
circumstances, nor in any conceivable condition, could * Young 
Gentleman Harry' have become or have been made a respectable 
member of society. He begins his narrative thus: — 

" I am now thirty years of age, born in London, October 19, 
1716, of .honest industrious parents, in the parish of St. Martin's- 
in- the -Fields. Having the misfortune to lose both my father and 
mother when very young, 1 was left to the care of an indulgent 


grandmother, who tenderly loved me, had me educated with ma- 
ternal fondness, and early began to instil into me sentiments of 
virtue, honour, and honesty, from which I too early swerved. My 
grandmother having been many years in the service of a nobleman, 
was an old servant much respected, and on that account not only 
ndulged with having her grandson with her, but was likewise 
indulged with my being permitted to go to Eton School with two 
sons of the noble lord. I remained at Eton School some time, ajid 
even there began to show an early inclination to vice, without an 
opportunity of committing it. When I arrived at the age of four- 
teen, my grandmother put me apprentice to a breeches-maker, but 
a life of servitude ill suited my constitution. I stayed with him 
no longer than a month, in which short time I procured to myself 
several choice acquaintances, particularly two (since hanged,) and 
was easily persuaded to accompany them in many robberies, which 
we committed in and about Mary-le-bone fields, and the money we 
got we riotously spent among thieves and bullies, and when that 
was gone, turned out (as we called it) for more. 

" Thus some months passed on in a round of wickednes.s which 
not all the counsel in the universe could restrain. My poor grand- 
mother with tears in her eyes entreated me to leave off my wicked 
courses, and to follow her instructions. But I little regarded her 
advice, and still pursued my old schemes. There was hardly a 
place round London famed for wickedness, but I was there. Tot- 
tenham Court Fair, when it came, I rejoiced at, for there 1 lived 
riotously, and there too I became a proficient in the dexterous art 
of picking pockets, by which I gained for some time pretty hand- 
somely. But at length that business grew dead, and, as I lived 
at a large rate, money was wanting. Accordingly, having mus- 
tered up a sufficient quantity of cash, I purchased a pair of pistols 
and ahorse, and set out; and on Epping Forest, near Woodford, 
.1 stopped two gentlemen in a chaise and pair, from whom I took 
only a little silver, and proceeded on to Newmarket, where I arriv- 
ed that night, and early next morning set out again, stopped the 
Norwich coach, and took from the passengers thirty guineas, a 
gold watch, and a diamond ring, and then rode away ; and about, 
three hours after, near Littlebury, met the Cambridge coach, from 
the passengers of which I took about five pounds, and came on for 
London. I now began to frequent a noted gaming-house in Coveut 
Garden, where, for several nights I had a prodigious run of luck, 
and won a considerable sum of money. I bought myself a silver 
hilted sword, had several new suits of clothes made, particular!) 


rne suit of black velvet, and appeared at all my usual haunts with 
surprising eclat. It was at this time that I gained the name of 
* Gentleman Harry,' for though I was before only called plain 
Harry, yet, on this my sudden grand appearance, I was christened 
' Gentleman Harry,' which name I retained for ever. But fortune 
not continuing her favours at the gaming-table, I was once more 
reduced, and obliged to take up again my old trade. Hitherto, 
what business I had done was by myself; but being out one day 
with a companion, we agreed to attack the first person we met 
with powder and shot. We saw nothing for some days that we 
either cared or dared to attack, till we came to a place called 
Eversley Bank, where we met a collector of Shrewsbury; we 
ordered him to stand and deliver, and took from him near three 
hundred pounds. For this robbery two men were taken up a short 
time after, tried at the assizes, capitally convicted, and executed : 
and I cannot but own, that, notwithstanding my hardened villainy, 
so often as I remembered it, I felt a good deal of sorrow at being 
the cause of shedding innocent blood, which I always avoided and 

* About a month after this I robbed a lady on Blackheath, in 
her coach. After the robbery, riding down the hill that leads to 
Lewisham Wash, I was overtaken by six or seven butchers, one 
of whom seizing the cape of my coat, pulled me off my horse, and 
the cape giving way, he tore it quite off. I then pulled out my 
pistols, swearing I would shoot the first man who dared to advance; 
which none of them caring to do, I retreated into the fields and 
got off with the loss of my horse, which cost me seventeen pounds. 
But I was not long without a horse, for, going towards Bromley, 
I met a gentleman on horseback, to whom I presented my pistols, 
ordering him to. dismount or I would shoot him through the head ; 
which he did, and 1 took from him eight guineas and seventeen 
shillings in silver, and, mounting the horse, left him to pursue his 
journey on foot. I sold the horse the next day at the George, in 
Farnham, and bought another, which cost me thirteen guineas. 
From thence I proceeded to Tunbridge, at which place I stayed a 
day or two, and then came to London, where I found an old com- 
panion, a sailor, who agreed to turn out with me. At the bottom 
of Shooter's Hill we robbed a gentleman of his gold watch, and 
about seventeen pounds : the watch I afterwards sold for nine 
pounds at the gaming-table, in Covent Garden, and lost the money 
when I had done. 
11 Being by this time pretty well known, 1 ran great hazards*, it 


was but a very few days after 1 lost my money as above, I grai 
attacked by several soldiers in Drury Lane, and should have been 
carried to the Savoy, had I not been rescued by some of my friends 
from Covent Garden; and in about a week after that, I was taken 
out of a tavern for the robbery of a gold watch which I had about 
me, and was again rescued by my companions. Some little time 
after this, I was attacked by about nine gentlemen thief-takers, 
iu Bridewell Walk, Clerkenwell, but having my pistols about me, 
I soon dispersed the cowardly rascals, and walked off'. Another 
time, riding on horse-back through Covent Garden, I was pursued 
by a party of thief-takers, but got clear. 

" Being in this manner continually beset on all sides, I was at 
length, by the perfidy of some ladies with whom I was in company 
at Goodman's Fields Wells, taken bv a party of thief-takers, and 
conducted to Clerkenwell Bridewell, where several prosecutions 
were commenced against me, and I was obliged to come to a com- 
position with divers of them, which drained me very low. One 
gentleman in particular, whom I had robbed of only eleven shillings 
and a small medal, made me pay him forty-seven guineas. By 
these means, having got rid of my several prosecutors, 1 was by- 
order of the Court of Justice, confined in Clerkenwell Bridewell 
two months for an assault, at the end of which time I was set at 
liberty, giving sureties for my good behaviour for two years. It 
was not long after I was discharged, before I was pressed and sent 
on board His Majesty's ship the Rye, where 1 continued for about 
three months, though much against my inclination; being con- 
tinually forming some scheme for an escape, not one of which 
schemes took effect till the following was hit upon. Whilst we 
were at Leith, we had pressed several hands out of some colliers, 
who, I found by talking to, were as little desirous of staying on 
board as myself; I therefore proposed to eight of them this scheme : 
— that when the cutter, which had been on shore pressing, came 
alongside at night, one of them should fall out of the main-chains 
into the river, and the rest of us should immediately jump into the 
boat and take the man up, and row away, which we put in practice 
with success, only, just as we had got up our man, the boatswain 
jumped on board and threatened us. My companions were for 
throwing him over-board, but on his promising to be quiet they 
Were over-ruled, and he was suffered to sit still; and, notwith- 
standing several guns were fired after us, we rowed safe to shore, 
and left the boat to the care of the boatswain to carry back if he 
thought proper. Being safe on shore, we took leave of each other : 


triev set out for Scarborough, and 1 for Edinburgh, in which city 
1 stayed about a week, and during that time became acquainted 
with a Scotch lassie, who not only furnished me with money to 
purchase my former implements, but lent me seven guineas to bear 
my expenses to London, which lasted me no farther than Grantham; 
and between Grantham and Stamford I was obliged to speak with 
the York stage, from the passengers of which I took eight guineas, 
about seventeen shillings in silver, a silver watch, and three plain 
gold rings, with which I came to London. 

" In a short space of time after this, 1 committed many robberies 
by myself, which I did not exactly minute down. My general ren- 
dezvous was about Epping Forest, where I robbed the Harwich 
coach, the Cambridge coach, the Norwich coach, &c, to a pretty 
large amount, which I spent as fast as I got. About this time, I 
kept company with another man's wife, who was so fond of me, 
that I could persuade her either out of cash or any valuables she 
had, to supply my present necessities : as was the case when I per- 
suaded her out of her gold watch, and some other things, which her 
husband took me up upon and I was committed to Newgate, tried 
at the Old Bailey, and acquitted by the court, who very justly saw 
through the prosecution. After my being discharged on this affair, 
L unluckily, in a quarrel, ran a crab-stick into a woman's eye in 
Goodman's-fields, for which I was sent to New Prison. In the 
mean time, I was informed that the wife was arrested on an action 
and sent to a sponging-house. Being determined to relieve her, if 
possible, I contrived in what manner I could make my escape, and, 
accordingly, by the help of sheets I let myself down out of my 
window and got off, 1 immediately went to a friend of mine in 
Leather-lane, who furnished me with two pistols, with which 1 went 
to the sponging-house in Gray's-inn-lane, expecting to find my lady; 
but when I came there I found she had been removed to Newgate. 
Being thus disappointed, and having no hopes of getting her out 
of Newgate, I determined to go to work at my old trade. 

" In Broad-street, St. Giles's, about nine at night, I stopped a 
coach which contained a single gentleman, from whom I took about 
seventeen shillings, and from thence went to my old haunts in Co- 
vent Garden, and after drinking pretty freely, I had a quarrel with 
a gentleman, who calling the watch to his assistance, I was taken 
and carried to the Covent Garden round-house. Being very much 
fuddled, I soon went to sleep : but when I waked next morning, 
and found myself in a prison, after having escaped from one but 
the night before, 1 was almost distracted, and began to contrive an 


escape, but to no purpose; for after calling tor the keeper of tho 
round-house, under pretence of being hungry, 1 got toast and ale, 
and therewith a knife, with which I hoped once more to make a breach 
whereby to escape. But 1 was doomed to be disappointed; for 
notwithstanding my cutting down the plaster and laths of the ceil- 
ing, the joists were so firm that I could not make an opening. I 
then grew desperate, broke all the things 1 could find in the room, 
cut the sheets to pieces, pulled off some tiles from the roof, and did 
every offensive act in my power, till at length the constable with a 
large posse of myrmidons arrived, who carried me before Sir Thomas 
De Veil, where, after a long examination, I laid my information 
of the robbery of Mr. Smith in Southwark, which robbery I was ac- 
tually concerned in, though not with the persons I swore against 
at Croydon assizes, but with three others. We committed the rob- 
bery in December, 1745, getting in at the two-pair-of-stairs window 
by a Jacob, that is, a ladder of ropes, which was fixed to the sign- 
post first, drawn afterwards into the balcony, and then attached to 
the two-pair-of-stairs window. We took from Mr. Smith's house, 
after frightening Mrs. Smith almost to death, two bags of money 
containing 514/. and a 20/. bank-note, and carried off in bags goods 
to the value of 800/. The cash we divided equally amongst us at 
a house in the Mint; the plate we sold; and we carried the goods 
to a house near the Pindar of Wakefield, nearPancras; but for 
my share of the goods I never received one penny ; they were car- 
ried to Ireland by my three accomplices, who promised to remit 
me mv part, but were never so good as their words. After my ex- 
amination I was removed to the New Gaol, Southwark, to give 
evidence at the assizes at Croydon. 

" After this affair at Croydon, I was removed by habeas to New- 
gate, on the oath of a barber at Westminster, whom I had robbed, 
which barber was found out by some of my enemies to prosecute 
me ; and upon his indictment 1 was tried, found guilty, and sen- 
tenced to transportation ; and, about two months alter, was with 
several other convicts put on board the Italian Merchant, which 
carried us to Maryland. On our passage I had formed several plans 
for an escape, one of which had nearly been successful, and was 

agreed upon between me and the rest of tho transports. We were 

at a certain time to have secured the Captain and sailors, as well 
as the lire-arms, and to have inn away with tin- ship, but one of 
them discovered ii to the captain, who put us in irons, and kept a 

watchful eve on us during the remainder of the voyage* When 

we arrived at Maryland, I was disposed of to the master of the 


Two Sisters, who was in want of sailors, and with whom I went to 
sea. We had not been out many days before we were taken by a 
privateer of Bayonne, and carried into Spain. We were all sent 
on shore, and had papers given to us to go to Portugal. When I 
arrived at Oporto, I was pressed on board his Majesty's ship the 
King Fisher, where I remained about four months, in which time 
we took several prizes. But not liking my station, I left her at 
Oporto, travelled to Lisbon, and got in the Hanover packet to Fal- 
mouth, where I stayed about a month. My companions endea- 
voured to persuade me to go a privateering with them in the War- 
ner galley; but I refused, and leaving Falmouth travelled to St. 
Ives, where I found a vessel ready to sail for Bristol, on board of 
which I went, and arrived at Bristol in two days. 1 was not long 
there before I determined to set up my old trade, and procured a 
pair of pistols, though I still wanted a horse ; but having observed 
several horses in a field near Lawford's-gate, I soon marked out 
one for myself, and that night got into a stable, from whence I 
stole a saddle and bridle, and without much difficulty caught my 
horse, and set out for London. 

" When I reached London, I was soon informed the thief-takers 
were after me. The night I came to town, I put my horse up at 
the White Swan, in Whitechapel, but went no more near him, 
fearful, as I had stolen him, he might be advertised. But I was 
not long without a horse, for one Saturday night, about eight o'clock, 
coming from St. James's, where I had been regaling with some 
friends, I perceived a boy in Rider-street walking a horse about, 
apparently waiting for somebody. I called and persuaded him to 
step on an arrand into Duke-street while I held the horse, and, as 
soon as the boy was gone, I mounted and rode away, and crossing 
the country reached Harrow-on-the-Hill, where I passed the night, 
and the next day set out towards London in hopes of meeting some 
of the farmers returning from the hay-markets, after having sold 
their hay. I had drunk pretty freely at dinner and was somewhat 
elevated. I had not ridden far before I met three gentlemen, whom 
I commanded to * stand and deliver their money,' which they did 
very quietly. From the first I got about three pounds, from the 
second I had about five pounds, and from the third thirteen or four- 
teen shillings. 

" The next person I robbed was Mr. Sleep, my prosecutor, and 
though neither he nor I recognized each other at that time, yet he, 
it seems, has known me from a cliPd. I took from him his watch 
and six shillings, and made off, 


" After robbing M.. Sleep, I still kept travelling towards 1 on- 
don, in hopes of meeting the farmers ; at length, five of them ip- 
peared, whom I commanded ' to stop,* and took from them about 5 ?. 
in silver. I felt in their pockets for watches, but they had n i) \ 
Next I met three men, whom I ordered ' to stop;' but they, l it 
regarding my orders, refused, and rode full speed, and I alone | j e 
of them, for at least five or six minutes, presenting my pi ) 1, 
swearing 1 would shoot if they did not stop : but they still ro<)f: on ; 
and I turned from them, giving them a hearty d — n, not cariu/to 
let off my pistol; for I had determined to shoot no man, unless he 
attempted to take me. But after this, on the same roi.J, 1 robbed 
two more men ; from one I took about fifteen shilling?, t'lom another 
about seven shillings. Turning from them 1 let r % one of my pis- 
tols into the air, and went on for London. 

" That night I made a sort of perambulation among the thief- 
takers, determining to do mischief to some of them, if possible, 
especially to those who, I heard, had been after me. The first I went 
to was one W. H. in Chancery-lane. Being on horseback, I knock- 
ed at the door, which his wife opened, demanding my business. I 
told her, * to speak with her husband.' She replied, ■ he was gone 
to bed,' at the same time desiring to know my name and business. 
' I am a gentleman of his acquaintance,' said I; ' he will know 
me when he sees me.' My blunderbuss, which J then carried, be- 
ing mounted with brass, and having a brass barrel, by the light of 
her candle she perceived it, and directly slapped to the door, called 
to her husband, and told him (mentioning my name) that I was at 
the door. I could hear him ask for his piece, on which I cried out, 
1 You rascal, come to the door, and I'll piece you;' and if he had 
come I should certainly have killed him, but he thought better of 
it, and I rode away. 

" From my friend H. I went to another of the same sort of gen- 
try in Holborn, one I. S. I got off my horse and went into his 
house threatening destruction ; but the moment he saw me enter 
at one door, he went out at another, and after venting a few oaths, 
I remounted my horse, and went to the Greyhound inn, in Drury- 
lane, where I lay that night. 

" Next morning I set out for Epping Forest, and dined at the 
Bird-in-Hand, at Stratford : after dinner, about two o'clock, I set 
out on the Romford road. I met on the forest a chaise, and from a 
man therein took about fourteen shillings. This robbery was don*? 
within sight of the Spread Eagle, at the door of which several 
people were drinking on horseback. From thence I ro4e througn 


xlford, then came on the forest again, and stayed till it was almos 1 
dark, and rode towards Laytonstone, within half a mile of which 
I robbed a captain of his gold watch, ten guineas, and some silver. 
After speaking with the captain, 1 came off the forest for London. 
Perceiving a hurly-burly, and a great mob at Snaresbrook turn- 
pike, I rode up to see what was the matter, and on enquiry amongst 
the mob, found that they had stopped a gentleman whom they mis- 
took for me. As it was dark and they could not distinguish me, 1 
thought it most prudent to ride through the turnpike, and go directly 
for London, which I did, and putting up my horse at the Saracen's 
Head, Aldgate, and calling a coach, I went to a tavern, where I 
lay all night. 

In the morning I began to reflect that, it being well known I 
was in England returned from transportation, and as well known 
too that I had committed a great many robberies, there were many 
thief-takers after me, and I was surrounded with danger; and I 
therefore determined to set out for Chester immediately, and from 
thence to Dublin, resolving, as I had now a handsome sum, as 
well as a parcel of diamond rings and watches, to live entirely on 
my stock, and rob no more, at least while that lasted, I dined 
that day at St. Alban's, and as I generally drank both at and after 
my meals pretty freely, I soon grew warm, and after dinner, setting 
out for Dunstable, I found my resolution to rob no more would not 
hold, for within a quarter of a mile of Redbourne, I ordered three 
gentlemen to stand and deliver. Presenting my pistol at the first, 
he replied, that he would not be robbed, and rode on ; the second 
hit me on the head with his whip, and at the same time the other 
rode by me. Having a good beast under me, I was quickly up 
with them, and putting on one of my terrible countenances, with 
bitter imprecations I vowed that I would instantly shoot the first 
man dead who refused to deliver: when one of them quietly gave 
me about nine shillings ; from the second I took an old-fashioned 
watch and seventeen shillings; and from the third, two guineas 
and about five shillings, and taking my leave immediately, attacked 
two more gentlemen, who likewise rode for it; but their horses being 
as good as mine, I ran them into Redbourne, and then gave it up. 
About an hour after, I stopped a single man on horseback, who 
telling me he had but eighteen-pence, I bade him keep that; but 
lie seeming to have a very good horse and mine beginning to fail, 
1 made him dismount and change with me. He had a portmanteau 
on his horse, which he was very industriously going to take off, 
but I told him he might as well let it remain where it was, which 


he did, though I had no opportunity to see what was in it; for being 
now become, perhaps, one of the most industrious of my profession, 
I could no more let a coach, chaise, or man go by without speaking 
with them in my way, than I could fly, and perceiving a coach 
coming along, which proved to be the Warrington stage, I directly 
made up to it, and got from the passengers therein about three 
pounds. The ladies seemed terribly frightened, and begged I 
would take my pistol away, which I did, and after taking th*ir 
money I went on for Dunstable, and calling at several houses 
before I got there, I became pretty fatigued, not only with my 
business, but with liquor too. Being very much fuddled, I was so 
cunning as to think of putting up at the Bull inn, at Dunstable, the 
very house where the Warrington coach went to. After dismounting 
my horse, and calling for a quartern of brandy, I saw some of the 
passengers in the kitchen, belonging to the coach I had just then 
robbed, on which, I never stayed for my brandy, but went out of 
the house, mounted my horse, and rode as fast as I could make him 
go, till I came to HockclifFe, and as it rained very hard, I resolved 
to put up, and accordingly went into the Star inn. After I had 
been there about an hour, and had drunk very freely, I became 
intoxicated, and fell asleep by the kitchen fire ; but was soon 
awakened by three troopers and some others with pistols at my 
head, swearing they would shoot me if I offered to put my hand to 
my pockets. Being half asleep as well as drunk, they soon dis- 
armed me, and took from me one gold watch, two silver ones, four 
diamond rings, forty-seven guineas in gold, and four pounds in 
silver: three of the best diamond rings I had secreted in my neck- 
cloth. I desired them to give me my money again, and to let me 
go to bed; they gave me about nine pounds in gold and silver back, 
and then conducted me to a chamber, where I went to bed, after 
putting my money under my pillow, and fell asleep, guarded by 
the troopers, who took my money from under my head, which, 
when I awoke and missed, I charged them with, telling them it 
was using me exceedingly ill indeed, as they had gotten so much 
from me already, to take that from me too ; whereupon, they re- 
turned it to me. Presently, I got up and sat by the fire-side, a 
good deal chagrined at my unfortunate fate. I resolved in my mind 
a thousand different methods of escape, but none appeared feasible 
even to myself. At length, a thought came into my bead, of which 
I was resolved to make a trial. As 1 knew these troopers, from 
tiieir behaviour, to be hungry hounds, and having two seals, the 
one gold and the other silver about me ; as I sat over the lire, i 


determined to throw them in, naturally supposing, from their eager- 
ness after plunder, they would endeavour to get them out, and I 
mi^ht thus, by some means or other, become master of their tire- 
arms. It happened as I hadimagined; eager for their prey they fell 
down to rake them from the ashes, when 1 at the same time snatch- 
ed a pistol from one of their hands and snapped it at his head : it 
missed fire, and I was immediately overpowered by the rest of the 
troopers, the landlord and others coming to their assistance; and 
I was the next day carried before the justice at Dunstable, where 
I insisted upon the troopers returning me my money and watches 
again, before I would answer any questions, and, accordingly, I 
undressed their pockets both of money and watches, asking them 
if they thought I had nothing else to do than to venture my life to 
dress the pockets of such fellows as they, who knew not how to 
wind up a watch; for in endeavouring to wind up one of the watches 
they had broken it. 

" I was eventually committed to Bedford gaol for robbing the 
Warrington stage-coach, where 1 remained about four months, till 
I was removed by habeas corpus to Newgate, and in February last 
was tried at the Old Bailey for robbing Mr. Francis Sleep of his 
watch and six shillings, of which 1 was found guilty, and re 
ceived sentence of death." 

The above is an abstract containing all the most interesting or 
prominent transactions in the life of Henry Simms, who appears 
to have laboured in his vocation with a zeal worthy of better calling, 
and with a wantonness deserving of the gallows to which, at length, 
he was compelled to ascend. Young Gentleman Harry was ex- 
ecuted at Tyburn, in June, 1747; and after hanging till he was 
dead, his body was cut down by a mob appointed for that purpose, 
and carried to a surgeon's in Covent Garden. 


James Maclaine, called in his own time by the distinguished 
title of " The gentleman highwayman," seemed at his birth to be 
far removed from the common temptations which too frequently lead 
to an infamous death. Until the decease of his father, which took 
place when he was about eighteen years of age, a fair prospect of 
prosperity was presented to him; but, unhappily, being conscious 


of his birth, which entitled him, by a slight straining of courtesy, 
to the designation of a gentleman, he imbibed, together with an 
inordinate vanity, an aversion from business, and an immoderate 
desire to appear a gay young fellow. 

Lauchlin Maclaine, the father of our adventurer, was a Presby- 
terian divine, and pastor of a congregation of that communion at 
Monaghan, in the North of Ireland. He designed James, his se- 
cond son, for a merchant, and bestowed upon him a sound educa- 
tion, but died before he could put his intentions into effect of send- 
ing him to Rotterdam, to be placed in the counting-house of a 
Scotch merchant of his acquaintance. 

Young Maclaine, the instant his father's breath was out of his 
body, proceeded to take possession and to dispose of his father's 
substance ; and treated with perfect contempt the remonstrances 
of his friends and relations, and the exortations of his aunt, who, 
finding all her entreaties ineffectual took his only sister into her 
charge, and left him to pursue what course he pleased. 

Thus left to himself, Maclaine forgot altogether the projected 
Dutch counting-house, and equipping himself in the gayest apparel 
that part of the country could afford, and purchasing a gelding, 
set up fine gentleman at once, and in a twelvemonth dissipated 
almost the whole of his property. During his extravagances, how- 
ever, his ear had been frequently troubled with the remonstrances 
of his aunt and his other relations, which he at length found so 
disagreeable, that he was fain to set out for Dublin without com- 
municating his intention to any one. It was here, it appears, 
that he first conceived the notion of making his fortune by marriage ; 
and having no disagreeable person, he gratuitously gave himself 
credit for many more excellencies than, unfortunately, other peo- 
ple could discover in him. The demands for the maintenance of 
such an appearance as would realize his hopes of a rich marriage, 
soon swept away the remainder of his property ; and he had now 
lull time to reflect on his folly and vauity, and to regret not a little 
Having despised the advice of his relations, who had for some time 
turned a deaf ear to his entreaties by letter for a supply of money. 
But upon them, nevertheless, he felt was now his sole dependance. 
He had long spent his all — he was an entire stranger to a single 
individual of worth or substance in the place, and his credit and 
clothes, even to the last shirt, were gone. Selling his sword, there- 
fore, the last piece of splendour that remained to him, he raised 
as much as would bear his charges on foot, and with a heavy hear; 
»et out to return to Monaghan, his native place. 


Not a hand was outstretched to welcome the prodigal home agaiu ; 
hts aunt refused to see him, all his other relations followed her ex- 
ample, and the companions of his former riots not only refused him 
relief, but rendered him the sport and ridicule of the town. His 
sister, however, sometimes contrived to see him by stealth to give 
him her pocket-money, but that could not long support him. Here, 
then, he must inevitably have starved, had not a gentleman on his 
way to England, passing through the town, compassionately offer- 
ed him the place of a servant who had recently died. Want, and 
the dread of starving, had by this time entirely banished all unne- 
cessary and superfluous pride, and our young gentleman accepted 
the offer with joy. But, unhappily, the extreme pressure of want 
once removed, old thoughts return, old vanities are renewed ; and 
so it was with Mr. Maclaine. His master's commands, though 
uniformly softened by good-nature and benevolence, appeared to 
him as so many insults offered to his birth and breeding ; it is no 
wonder, therefore, that in a few months he was discharged from his 
service. Depending on his sister, who was about to be married to 
a man of some wealth, he set out once more for Ireland, to endea- 
vour to obtain enough from his relations to fit him out for America 
or the West Indies; but here again he was doomed to disappoint- 
ment. His sister's marriage had been broken off — she was unable 
to do anything for him; — and his other relations, deeming them- 
selves scandalized by his having been a footman, were even less 
tractable than before, treated him with great indignity, and finally 
refused all manner of assistance. 

Again reduced to starvation, he was obliged to think of service 
as his only resource. Wii v Ji much difficulty he obtained a situation 
as butler to a gentleman near Cork, with whom he did not live 
long, being discharged for some breach of trust. Here he remained 
for many mouths out of place, wandering about, without any settled 
abode or means of subsistence, except occasional remittances from 
his elder brother, a pastor of the English congregation at the 
Hague, whose friendly assistance was less relished, because it was 
accompanied by warm remonstrances on the past, and wholesome 
advice on the future conduct of his life. 

Fortune was at length favourable; his old master, though he re- 
fused him a character to another family, generously paid his pas- 
sage to England, and allowed him, for a limited period after his 
landing, a shilling a day for subsistence. 

Once again on this side of the water, his notions of gentilitv 
returned; he scorned being a menial servant; and valuing me 


minimum of his ambition at a pair of colours, he actually had the 
impudence to attempt to borrow the purchase money on the bond 
he had obtained from his master. This absurd scheme failing, he 
threw up his shilling a-day in disgust, and heroically cast himself 
for support on a celebrated courtesan, a countrywoman of his own, 
who maintained him for some months in great magnificence, and 
enabled him to attend the public places with something like splen- 
dour. « 

But having disgusted this lady by his pusillanimous conduct in 
a rencontre with a certain peer, — who bestowed upon him a severe 
castigation, and very nearly ran him through the body, though he 
was much stronger, and as well armed as the nobleman, — he was 
once more without resources. His grandeur now suffered an eclipse 
for two or three months, and his last suit had been laid by in la- 
vender, or, in other words, pawned, when he inspired the regard 
of a lady of quality, the consequence of which was, that for five or 
six months longer he flourished away as an idle fellow in all the 
public places. 

But Maclaine inwardly was not idle. He was extremely anxious 
for an independent settlement, and the thought of inveigling some 
woman of fortune by the charms of his person was still uppermost 
in his mind. Among other schemes to this end, there was none he 
built so much upon as a very hopeful and grateful plot he had laid 
for the daughter of his patroness and benefactress, who had a con- 
siderable fortune. But the young lady's waiting-maid, who had 
either more honesty than abigails in general are furnished with, or 
had not received the price with which they are usually rewarded, 
discovered the affair to the old lady, who forthwith dismissed Mac- 
laine from her services, but when, in a few months after, he was 
much reduced, she privately bestowed upon him fifty pounds in 
order to fit him out for Jamaica, where he had proposed to go and 
seek his fortune, and where the lady was willing enough that he 
should retire, that she might be free from fears on her daughter's 

But Maclaine was no sooner possessed of this sum than he for- 
got his Jamaica expedition, and returned to his favourite scheme 
of fortune-hunting; for he never could rid himself of the idea that 
one day or other he should succeed in the main object of his exis- 
tence. He released, therefore, his best clothes from the durance 
vile in which they had been plunged, and after various treatise with 
match-makers and chambermaids, relating to ladies of great re- 
puted fortune, all which treaties ended in disappointment, he 


reluctantly contracted his ambition, and made suit to the daugh- 
ter of a considerable innkeeper and dealer in horses, with whom 
he was fortunate enough to succeed, and whom he married with 
her parents' consent, and five hundred pounds. 

Here it would seem that Maclaine had laid aside all thoughts of 
the fine gentleman, and had really determined to make the most 
of his wife's fortune by industry and dilligence. He took a house 
in Welbeck-street, and set up a grocer's and chandler's shop ; was 
very obliging to his customers, punctual in his dealings, and, while 
his wife lived, was esteemed by his neighbours a careful and indus- 
trious man. However, though at times, and while he was in hi* 
shop, he appeared to like his business, yet in parties of pleasure, 
which he made but too often, and on holidays, he affected the dress 
of a gentleman, and thus created expences which only a gradual 
encroachment on his capital enabled him to meet; insomuch, that 
when his wife died, which was about three years after their marri- 
age, he resolved to leave off business, and converted his furniture 
and goods into the miserable sum of eighty-five pounds, which, 
perhaps, with frugality, might have supported him in business, but 
which was at all times too small a sum for Mr. Maclaine. 

His mother-in-law consenting to take charge of his only daugh- 
ter, and once more in a manner a single man, with his eighty -five 
pounds in his pocket, again did the desire of appearing the gay 
fine gentleman obtrude itself upon his mind, and his old project 
of marrying a rich fortune engrossed all his faculties. For this 
purpose, Mr. Maclaine, who, but a few weeks before was not 
ashamed to appear in a patched coat, or to carry a halfpenny-worth 
of coal or sand to his customers, now hired handsome apartments 
near Soho-square, and resumed his laced clothes, and a hat and 

But, however unreasonable to others this sudden transition 
from the grub to the butterfly might appear, Mr. Maclaine had 
very good private reasons for his actions. It appears that du- 
ring his wife's last illness, she had been attended by one Plun- 
ket, as a surgeon and apothecary ; this Plunket, after the 
decease of the poor woman, opened his mind to Maclaine, say- 
ing, that though the latter had lost a good wife, yet, seeing that 
she was gone,"it was of no use to despond or to repine, particularly 
as it might eventually turn out the most lucky circumstance in his 
life. He added at the same time that if Maclaine would agree to 
share the fortune with him, he could help him to a lady with ten 
thousand pounds at least in her own right. 


This motion was too agreeable to Mr. Maclaine to be rejected. 
It is hardly necessary to detail with what zeal this affair was followed 
up, or how often they flattered themselves with the deceitful pros- 
pects of success. The young lady having been taken to the wells, 
Maclaine followed her, passing for a man of fortune, and in every 
part of his dress and equipage appearing in that character. Plun- 
ket acted as his partner, and was a sort of under agent, while 
Maclaine himself was ogling, dancing, and flirting with the yo^ng 
lady. But an ill-timed quarrel with an apothecary, one evening 
in the public room, placed a quietus upon his hopes for ever; for 
the disciple of Galen enlisting a M gallant son of Mars" in his 
quarrel, the latter had the effrontery to kick our adventurer down 
stairs, declaring publicly that he knew the rascal a footman a few 
years ago. This statement, which was believed by every body 
present, amongst whom was his mistress, whose credulity he had 
ascertained before, and was therefore not in a situation to doubt, 
compelled him and his footman Plunket to decamp without the 
ceremony of leave-taking, and, indeed, without any ceremony 
at all. 

Returning to town from this woeful expedition, and examining 
the state of their cash, these faithful friends discovered that five 
guineas were the whole that remained, — a sum too little to support 
them, or to enter into any new project, or to keep up their assumed 
grandeur. Maclaine now found himself in a worse plight than he 
had brought himself to for some years past, without any visible 
hope of a supply, and yet engaged in a mode of life highly expen- 
sive, which it went to his heart either to retrench or relinquish. 
He now thought seriously of embarking for Jamaica, where be 
hoped to find employment as an accountant, and flattered himself 
that his person might be turned to account amongst the rich planter's 
daughters or widows. But no money was forthcoming for this pur- 
pose, nor could he think of any possible scheme whereby it might 
be raised. 

Certainly, never had man less cause to complain of Fortune than 
Maclaine, and it would seem throughout his life, that she bad 
determined to make his ruin entirely the work of his own hand, 
and leave him at last utterly without excuse or palliation ; for meet- 
ing on 'Change with a gentleman, a countryman of his own, to 
whom he had formerly related his hopes of making a fortune in the 
manner we have related, he told him his situation at the present 
moment adding that he was now undone, that he had spent his all 
in that unhappy project, and had not wherewithal to subsist here, 


or to carry him from a place in which he felt he was cutting a very 
ridiculous figure. Hereupon the gentleman spoke in his behalf 
to some others of his countrymen ; and as his conduct heretofore, 
according to the notions of the age, had been rather imprudent 
than vicious, they actually raised sixty guineas to fit him out for 
Jamaica, which they gave him promising him letters of recom- 
mendation from some merchants of respectability to their own cor- 
respondents. Here, then, was a prospect at once opened to him, 
of future happiness and prosperity. Let us see how it terminated. 

He had agreed for the passage, paid part of the money in ad- 
vance, and bespoken some necessaries fitted for the climate, when 
unhappily for the infatuated man, he was prompted to go to a mas- 
querade, to take leave, as he said, for the last time, of the bewitch- 
ing pleasures of London, and to bid a final farewell to this species of 
enjoyment, which he should have no hope of partaking in the 
West Indies. He went with the whole of his money in his pocket. 
The strange appearance of the place and of the company amused 
him for a while, but the noise of the gamesters drew his attention 
to the gaming-table, where the quick transition of large sums from 
one hand to another awakened his avarice, and lulled his prudence 
asleep. In short, he ventured, and in half an hour had possessed 
himself of a hundred guineas, with which he resolved, according 
to their phrase, " to tie up ;" but avarice had now attacked him ; 
and after taking a turn or two round the room, he again returned, 
and in a few minutes was stripped to the last guinea. 

It is needless to describe his agony on this occasion. His money 
gone, his expedition utterly disconcerted, and his friends lost past 
redemption ! What was now to be done ? 

In this extremity, his evil genius, now in the ascendant, prompt- 
ed him to send for Plunket to advise with, and from that moment 
his ruin commenced. This was the favourable moment for Plunket. 
Himself a man of no honour, an utter stranger to all ties or prin- 
ciples of religion or honesty, an old sharper, and a daring fellow 
into the bargain, this was an opportunity, when his friend was 
agitated almost to madness, to propose, at first by distant hints, 
and at last in plain English, going on the highway. 

Had he approached him in a calm hour, it is more than probable 
that his proposal had been rejected with horror; but the former 
strongly represented the necessity of a speedy supply before his 
friends could discover that his money was gone, which, he said, 
would expose him to universal scorn and contempt. A strange 
infatuation, the dread of shame — the shame of appearing a tool, 


diminished the horror of being a villain, and decided him to lecruit 
his losses by means the most hazardous and wicked. 

Having agreed upon a plan of co-partnership, and hired too 
horses, Plunket furnishing the pistols; for this was not his first 
entrance upon business of that nature, they set out on the evening 
after the masquerade, to lie in wait for passengers coming from 
Smithfield-Market. They met on Hounslow-heath with a grazier, 
next morning about four o'clock, from whom they took, without 
opposition, between sixty and seventy pounds. 

In this, and other expeditions of the same kind, they wore 
Venetian masks; but this covering couicl not stifle conscience in 
Maclaine, nor animate him into courage. He accompanied Plun- 
ket, it is true, and was by at tne robbery, but strictly speaking, 
had no hand in it; for his fears were so great that he had no power 
to utter a word, or to draw a pistol. The least resistance on the 
part of the countryman would have given wings to his heels, and 
have caused him to leave his more daring accomplice in the lurch. 
Even when the robbery was over, and the countryman out of 
sight, Maclaine's fears were intolerable. He followed Plunket for 
some miles without speaking a word ; and when they put up at an 
inn, nearly ten miles from the place of the robbery, he called for 
a private room, fearful of every shadow, and terrified at every sound. 
His agonies of mind were so great, that Plunket was fearful that 
his folly would raise suspicion in the house, and he would fain have 
persuaded him to return immediately to London; but he would not 
stir till it was dusk, and then would not appear at the stables 
from which they had hired the horses, but left the care of them to 

He was now, by his share of this ill-acquired booty, very nearly 
reimbursed his losses at the masquerade, and might have easily 
undertaken his voyage; but he had lost all peace of mind, and was 
become entirely void of prudence. So great was his dread of a 
discovery, though Plunket represented the impossibility of it, that 
he would not stir out of his room for some days, and even then did 
not think himself safe, but proposed going down to the country for 
a week or two. Plunket did not oppose his departure, especially 
as he was to direct the route, and had gotten some intimation of a 
prize coming that day from St. Alban's, towards which place they 
set out. When they had gone a few miles, Plunket imparted to 
him his design, which Maclaine promised to second with a great 
deal of reluctance. When they came within sight of the coach, 
in which was their expected booty, Maclaine would have persuaded 


Plunket to desist; but the other, turning his qualms of conscience 
into ridicule, and dropping some hints of cowardice, Maciaine 
prepared for the attack, crying, "He needs must whom the devil 
drives. I am over shoes and must over boots ;" but notwithstanding, 
conducted himself in so distracted a manner as went nigh to lose 
them their prey. They took, however, from a gentleman and lady 
in the coach, two gold watches, and about twenty pounds in money, 
with which they got clear off; but did not think fit to keep that road 
any longer, but turned off, and before morning put up at an inn 
at Richmond, where Maciaine was as much in the horrors as in 
London; had no rest, no peace of mind, and stayed there two or 
three days, sulky, sullen, and perplexed as to what course he was 
to pursue. His wish, however, to be in town in time for the ship's 
departure for Jamaica, determined him to return to London in a 
fortnight, when he found that the ship had sailed two days before, — 
a disappointment that added to his former perplexity. Nevertheless, 
having money in his pocket, he contrived to excuse himself to his 
friends for his untoward absence, and promised, and seriously de- 
signed, to set out on the very next opportunity. 

But the expensive company he kept in the interim, and further 
losses at play, once more stripped him of his money; and his evil 
genius, Plunket, was ever at his elbow, ready to suggest the former 
method of supply, with which he now complied much less reluctantly 
than before. The bounds of honour once overstepped, especially 
when success and security attend the villainy, the habit of vice 
grows strong ; and the checks of conscience gradually less regarded 
at length pass without notice. In a word, Maciaine hardened 
himself by degrees to villainy, left the company of his city acquaint- 
ance that they might not tease him about his voyage to Jamaica, 
and took lodgings in St. James's-street, a place excellently suited 
to his purpose, for his appearance glanced off all suspicion, and 
he had a favourable opportunity, when gentlemen came to town, 
of knowing and watching their motions, and consequently of follow- 
ing and waylaying them on the road. 

In the space of six months, he and Plunket, sometimes in 
company and sometimes separately, committed fifteen or sixteen 
robberies in Hyde Park, and within twenty miles of London, and 
obtained some large prizes. But still the money went as it came, 
for Plunket loved his bottle and intrigue, and Maciaine was doat- 
ingly fond of fine clothes, balls, and masquerades, at all which 
places he made a conspicuous figure. As he still had fortune-hunt- 
ing in view, he was very assiduous in his attentions to women, and 


was not altogether unsuccessful; but, we imagine, made sincere 
return to none but such as had money in their own hands, or could 
be useful in helping him to an introduction to such as had. 

And here it were needless and not productive of much interest 
to recount several intrigues in which Maclaine was engaged, and 
it were not a little painful to narrate two instances of wanton 
seduction on his part, which, were there no other counts in the 
moral indictment against him, would be sufficient to consign him 
to eternal infamy. •„ 

Mr. Maclaine applied himself also to his old profession of fortune- 
hunting, and in company with his old and worthy coadjutor Plun- 
ket, made several attempts to entrap heiresses, all of which proved 
abortive. While he was intent upon these schemes, he had no 
opportunity of making excursions on the road, and to defray his 
expenses had borrowed from a citizen's wife, with whom he had an 
intrigue, about twenty pounds, which he promised faithfully to re- 
pay before her husband should return from the country. The time 
of the citizen's arrival being at hand, the good wife became exceed- 
ingly anxious about the coin; and as a similar favour might be 
wanted by him at a future time, Mr. Maclaine made it a point of 
conscience to keep his word with her, and appointed her to come 
to him at his lodgings at Chelsea, where he paid her the money. 
He, however, took care that his friend Plunket should case her of 
the trouble of carrying it home, by waylaying her in the five-fields. 

Soon after this, a supply of cash being wanted, Plunket and he 
prepared for an expedition, and took the road to Chester; and in 
three days committed five robberies between Stony Stratford and 
Whitchurch, one of which was upon an intimate acquaintance, 
by whom Maclaine had been handsomely entertained but two days 
before. However, the booty in the whole live robberies did not 
amount to thirty pounds in cash, but they had watches, rings, fee. 
to a much greater amount. On the very evening of their return to 
town, they obtained information that an officer in the East India 
company's service had received a large sum of money with whieh 
he was about to return to Greenwich. They waylaid and robbed 
him of a very considerable sum, and it would leem that on this 
occasion they were under some dread of a discovery ; for, in a few 
days after the commission of it, Maclaine set out for the Hague 
and Plunket for Ireland. 

On the arrival of the former at the Hague, he pretended a friendly 
visit to his brother who received him with cordiality and affection, 
and as honesty is never suspicious, he was easily induced to givr 


credit to the specious tale which his brother related to him. He toid 
nun that he had got a considerable fortune with his late wife, and 
that her father, who died some few months before, had left him a 
valuable legacy, with which he designed to purchase a company in 
(he army. Upon that, and the interest of his other friends, he 
said, he hoped to live at ease for the remainder of his life. His 
worthy brother, rejoicing in his prosperity, introduced him to his 
acquaintance and friends, amongst whom Mr. Maclaine behaved 
with great politeness, giving balls and large parties; to pay for 
which, it is surmised, he had the art to extract the gold watches 
and purses of his guests without suspicion. 

However, upon his arrival in London, to which place he had 
been induced to return by a letter from Plunket, informing him of 
another rich matrimonial prize, which was, as usual, beyond his 
reach, or above his ingenuity to ensnare ; — he again appears to have 
taken up his old thoughts of preparing for Jamaica, as a last re- 
source. But these thoughts did not long possess him; for though 
by the sale of his horses and furniture he might have fitted himself 
for the West Indies in a very genteel manner, and had still repu- 
tation enough left to have procured sufficient recommendations from 
home; yet he was prevailed upon to try his fate on the road once 
more, and was but too successful, making several rich prizes. 
Amongst the rest he and Plunket robbed Horace Walpole, and on 
a reward being advertised for the watch which they had taken from 
him, Plunket had the impudence to go and receive it himself, 
choosing to run the risk rather than trust a third person with their 
hazardous secret. But all human prudence is in vain to stop the 
hand of justice, when once the measure of our iniquity is full; our 
closet secrets take wind, we know not how; and our own folly acts 
the part of an informer to awaken offended justice. The crisis of 
Maclaine's fate was at hand. It was he who proposed his last ex- 
cursion to Plunket, who was ill at the time, and was very unwill- 
ing to turn out; but Maclaine, impelled by some uncommon im- 
pulse, urged him so earnestly, that he at length complied. They 
came up, about two o'clock in the morning, near Turnham Green, 
with the Salisbury stage-coach, in which five men and a woman 
were passengers. Though this was Maclaine's expedition, yet 
Plunket was the acting man, and obliged all the men to come out 
of the coach one by one, and rifled them; and then, putting his 
pistol in his pocket, lest he should frighten the lady, without forc- 
ing her out of the coach, he took what she offered without further 
•earch. Plunket would now have gone off; but Maclaine, full of 



bit 'ate. demanded th " cloak-bags out of the boot of the coach; 
each of them took one before him and rode off, bidding a polite 
adieu to the passengers, and riding as deliberately as though they 
had been performing some signal service. 

On the same morning they met and robbed Lord Eglington, who 
was the prize for whom they originally went out. They effected this 
by a stratagem, as his lordship was armed with a blunderbuss. 
One of them skreened himself behind the post-boy, so that if his 
lordship fired, he must shoot his servant, while the other with at 
pistol cocked demanded his money, and ordered him to throw his 
blunderbuss on the ground. But it appears, the prize obtained at 
this hazard was but seven guineas, with which, and the cloak-bags, 
they returned to Maclaine's lodgings before the family were up, and 
divided their spoil. 

But though the clothes were described in the public papers, yet 
so infatuated was Maclaine, that he sold his share of the booty to a 
salesman, who instantly recognized them as belonging to a Mr. 
Higden, and the latter immediately had Maclaine taken into cus- 

On his first examination he denied the fact, but afterwards, that 
he might leave himself no room to escape, he formed a design of 
saving his life by impeaching his accomplice Plunket, foolishly 
imagining that justice would promise life to a villain she had in 
custody, for impeaching another that was out of her reach. But 
in the words of Massinger — 

" Here is a precedent to teach wicked men, 
That when they leave religion and turn atheists, 
Their own abilities leave 'em." 

For though he was forewarned that a confession, without impeach- 
ing a number of accomplices, would not avail him, he still insisted 
upon taking that step, not from compunction or remorse, but with 
the base design of saving his own life at the expense of that of his 
quondam friend. 

On his second examination he delivered his confession in writing, 
and behaved in a most dastardly manner, whimpering and crying 
like a whipped school-boy. This conduct, degrading as it was, 
drew sympathetic tears from and opened the purses of his fair au- 
dience, whose bounty supported him in great affluence while he 
remained in the Gatehouse, and whose kind olfers of intercession 
gave him hopes of a free pardon. 

On his trial, he thought lit to retract his confession, ^reienaing 
that he was flurried, and in some measure delirious wnen no m4Q« 


it, and that he had received the clothes from Plunket in payment 
of a debt. But this evasion had no weight with the jury, who brought 
him in guilty without going out of court. 

On receiving sentence, guilt, shame, and dread deprived him 
of the power of speech, and disabled him from reading a paper, 
pathetically enough composed, in which he prayed for mercy. 

In Newgate, ample time was permitted him to make his peace 
with his offended Maker, and there is every evidence to believe, 
from the testimony of the Rev. Dr. Allen, who attended him con- 
stantly to the last moment of his life, that his remorse and contri- 
tion was unaffected, sincere, and strong. 

He was carried to Tyburn in a cart, like the rest of the criminals, 
and not, as was expected, in a coach; he stood the gaze of the 
multitude (which was on this occasion almost infinite,) without the 
least concern ; and when he was about to be turned off, he said, 
" O God, forgive my enemies, bless my friends, and receive my 
soul !" His execution took place on Wednesday, October 3, 1750. 

In the very amusing Letters of Horace Walpole to Sir Horace 
Mann, recently published, we find the following spirited and lively 
sketch of Maclaine. 

" 1 have been in town for a day or two, and heard no conversation 
but about M'Lane, a fashionable highwayman, who is just taken, 
and who robbed me among others; as LordEglington, Sir Thomas 
Robinson of Vienna, Mrs. Talbot, &c. He took an odd booty from 
the Scotch Earl, a blunderbuss, which lies very formidable upon 
the justice's table. He was taken by selling a laced waistcoat to 
a pawnbroker, who happened to carry it to the very man who had 
just sold the lace. His history is very particular, for he confesses 
every thing, he is so little of a hero, that he cries and begs, and 
I believe, if LordEglington had been in any luck, might have been 
robbed of his own blunderbuss. His father was an Irish dean; his 
brother is a Calvinist minister in great esteem at the Hague. He 
himself was a grocer, but losing a wife that he loved extremely 
about two years ago, and by whom he has one little girl, he quitted 
his business with 200J. in his pocket, which he soon spent, and then 
took to the road with only one companion, Plunket, a journeyman 
apothecary, my other friend, whom he has impeached, but who is 
not taken. M'Lane had a lodging in St. James's-street over against 
White's, and another at Chelsea; Plunket one in Jermyn-street: 
and their faces are as known about St. James's as any gentleman's 
who lives in that quarter, and who perhaps goes upon the road too. 
M'Lane had a quarrel at Putney bowling-green two months ago 


with an officer, whom he challenged for disputing his rank; but 
the Captain declined, till M'Lane should produce a certificate of 
his nobility, which he has just received. If he had escaped a month 
longer, he might have heard of Mr. Chute's genealogic expertness, 
and come hither to the College of Arms for a certificate. There 
was a wardrobe of clothes, three-and-twenty purses, and the cele- 
brated blunderbuss found at his lodging, besides a famous kept 
mistress. As I conclude he will suffer, and wish him no ill, I don't 
care to have his idea, and am almost single in not having been to " 
see him. Lord Mountford, at the head of half White's, went the 
first day : his aunt was crying over him : as soon as they were with- 
drawn, she said to him, knowing they were of White's, { My dear, 
what did the Lords say to you ? have you ever been concerned with 
any of them?' Was not it admirable ? what a favourable idea peo- 
ple must have of White's ! — and what if White's should not deserve 
a much better! But the chief personages who ha^e been to com- 
fort and weep over this fallen hero are Lady Caroline Petersham 
and Miss Ashe: I call them Polly and Lucy, and asked them if 
he did not sing — ' Thus 1 stand like the Turk with hi3 doxies 
around.' " 


That Eugene Aram was a very remarkable and ingenious man, 
cannot for a moment be doubted; especially as he has left us part 
of a Lexicon, deriving the English language from the Chaldee, 
Hebrew, Arabic, and Celtic dialects, which is a very learned and 
convincing performance; still we cannot help thinking that his 
abilities have been greatly over-rated. His defence was doubtlessly 
of consummate ingenuity. In fact, the celebrated Archdeacon 
Paley, who was present at his trial, attributes his conviction to 
this very ingenuity — asserting that " he had a fair claim to a niche 
in the Biographia Britannica," having got himself hanged by his 
own cleverness, which he certainly had." 

The accounts of the life of this man have become of late so widely 
circulated, and the particulars respecting the murder of which be 
was the perpetrator so generally known, that any notice of him in 
this work would appear almost supererogatory were it not that 
a charge of oversight and omission could, without injusiice, bt 


reasonably advanced against it, were we to slight over or leave 
unmentioned a name so notorious. We shall, therefore, give a 
summary of his history, commencing with an account of his family 
and early life, furnished by himself at the request of the two gen- 
tlemen who, at his own particular desire, attended him at his 

"I was born atRamsgill, a little village in Netherdale, in 1704. 
My maternal relations had been substantial and reputable in that 
dale, for a great many generations : my father was of Nottingham- 
shire, a gardener, of great abilities in Botany, and an excellent 
draughtsman. He served the Right Rev. the Bishop of London, 
Dr. Compton, with great approbation; which occasioned his being 
recommended to Newby, in this county, to Sir Edward Blackett, 
whom he served in the capacity of gardener, with much credit to 
himself, and satisfaction to that family, for above thirty years. 
Upon the decease of that Baronet, he went, and was retained in 
the service of Sir John Ingilby, of Ripley, Bart, where he died; 
respected when living, and lamented when dead. My father's 
ancestors were of great antiquity and consideration in the county, 
and originally British. Their surname is local, for they were 
formerly lords of the town of Haram, or Aram, on the southern 
banks of the Tees, and opposite to Stockburn, in Bishopric ; and 
appear in the records of St. Mary's, at York, among many charit- 
able names, parly and considerable benefactors to that abbey. 
They, many centuries ago, removed from these parts, and were 
settled under the fee of the lords Mowbary, in Nottinghamshire, 
at Haram, or Aram Park, in the neighbourhood of Newark upon 
Trent; where they were possessed of no less than three knight's 
fees in the reign of Edward the Third. Their lands, I find not 
whether by purchase or marriage, came into the hands of the pre- 
sent Lord Lexington. While the name existed in the county, 
some of them were several times high sheriffs for the county; and 
one was professor of divinity, if I remember right at Oxford, and 
died at York. The last of the chief of this family, was Thomas 
Aram, Esq. of Gray's Inn, and one of the commissioners of the 
Salt Office, under Queen Anne. He married one of the co-heiresses 
of Sir John Coningsby, of North Mimms, in Hertfordshire. His 
seat, which was his own estate, was at the Wild, near Shenley, 
in Hertfordshire, where I saw him, and where he died without 

*• I was removed very young, along with my mother, to Skelton, 
near Newby, and thence at five or six years old, my father making 


a little purchase at Bor.dgate, near Ripon, his family went thither. 
There I went to school; where I was made capable of reading toe 
Testament, which was all I was ever taught except a long time 
after, for about a month in a very advanced age for that, with the 
Reverend Mr. Alcock, of Burnsal. 

" After this, about thirteen or fourteen years of age, I went to 
my father at Newby, and attended him in the family there, till 
the death of Sir Edward Blackett. It was here my propensity to 
literature first appeared, for being always of a solitary disposition, 
and uncommonly fond of retirement and books, I enjoyed here all 
the repose and opportunity I could wish. My study at that time 
was engaged in the mathematics : I know not what my acquisitions 
were, but I am certain my application was intense and unwearied. 
I found in my father's library there, which contained a very great 
number of books in most branches, Kersey's Algebra, Leybourn's 
Cursus Mathematicus, Ward's Young Mathematician's Guide, 
Harris's Algebra, &c. and a great many more; but these being 
the books in which I was ever most conversant, I remember them 
the better. I was even then equal to the management of quadratic 
equations, and their geometrical constructions. After we left New- 
by, I repeated the same studies in Bondgate, and went over all 
parts 1 had studied before, I believe not altogether unsuccessfully. 

" Being about the age of sixteen, I was sent for to London, 
being thought upon examination by Mr. Christopher Blackett 
qualified to serve him as bookkeeper in his counting-house. Here, 
after a year or two, I took the small-pox and suffered most severely 
under that distemper. I returned home again, and there with lei- 
sure on my hands, and a new addition of authors to those brought 
me from Newby, I renewed not only my mathematical studies, 
but began and prosecuted others, of a different turn, with much 
avidity and diligence. These were poetry, history, and antiquities; 
the charms of which quite destroyed all the heavier beauties of 
numbers in lines, whose applications and properties I now pur- 
sued no longer, except occasionally in teaching. 

" I was, after some time employed in this manner, invited into 
Netherdalc, my native air, where I first engaged in a school, and 
where, unfortunately enough for me, 1 married. The misconduct 
of the wife which that place afforded me, procured me this pro- 
secution, this prison, this infamy, and this sentence. 

" During my marriage here, perceiving the deficiencies of my 
education, and sensible of the want of the learned languages, and 
prompted by an irresistible covetousness of knowledge, 1 com- 


menced a series of studies in that way; and undertook the tedious- 
nessof the intricacies, and the labour of grammar; I selected Lilly 
from the rest, all of which I got, and repeated by heart. The task 
of repeating it all every day was impossible, while I attended the 
school; so I divided it into portions; by which method it was pro- 
nounced thrice every week, and this I performed for years. 

11 1 next became acquainted with Camden's Greek Grammar, 
which I also repeated in the same manner, memoriter. Thus in- 
structed, I entered upon the Latin classics; whose allurements 
repaid my assiduities and my labours. I remember to have, at first, 
overhung five lines for a whole day ; and never in all the painful 
course of my reading, left any one passage, but I did, or thought 
I did, perfectly comprehend it. 

" After I had accurately perused every one of the Latin classics, 
historians and poets, I went through the Greek Testament;, first 
passing every word as I proceeded; I next ventured upon Hesiod, 
Homer, Theocritus, Herodotus, Thucydides, and all the Greek 
tragedians : a tedious labour was this ; but my former acquaintance 
with history lessened it extremely: because it threw a light upon 
many passages, which without that assistance must have appeared 

" In the midst of these literary pursuits, a man and horse from 
my good friend William Norton, Esq., came for me from Knares- 
borough, bearing that gentleman's letter inviting me thither; and 
accordingly I repaired there in some part of the year 1734, and 
was, I believe, well accepted and esteemed there. Here, not 
satisfied with my former acquisitions, I prosecuted the attainment 
of Hebrew, and with indefatigable diligence. I had Buxtorff's 
grammar, but that being perplexed, or not explicit enough, at least 
in my opinion at that time, I collected no less than eight or ten 
different grammars ; and thus one very often supplied the omissions 
of the others ; and was, I found, of extraordinary advantage. Then 
I purchased the Bible in the original, and read the whole Penta- 
teuch, with an intention to go through the whole of it, which I 
attempted, but wanted time. 

" In April, I think the 18th, 1744, I went again to London ; and 
agreed to teach the Latin and writing, for the Rev. Mr. Painblanc, 
in Piccadilly, which he, along with a salary, returned, by teach- 
ing me French ; wherein 1 observed the pronunciation the most 
formidable part, at least to me, who had never before known a word 
of it. By continued application every night and every opportunity, I 


overcame this, and boon became a tolerable master of French, 
remained in this situation two years and above. 

" Some time after this I went to Hays, in the capacity of writing 
master, and served a gentlewoman there, since dead; and stayed, 
after that, with a worthy and reverend gentleman. I continued 
here between three and four years. To several other places I then 
succeeded, and all that while used every occasion for improvement. 
I then transcribed acts of parliament to be registered in chancery; 
and after went down to the free-school at Lynn. 

" From my leaving Knaresborough to this time is a long interval, 
which I had filled up with the farther study of history and antiqui- 
ties, heraldry and botany; in the last of which I was very agree- 
ably entertained, there being in that study so extensive a display 
of nature. I well knew Tournefort, Ray, Miller, Linnaeus, &c. 
I made frequent visits to the botanic garden at Chelsea; and traced 
pleasure through a thousand fields: at last, few plants, domestic or 
exotic, were unknown to me. Amidst all this 1 ventured upon the 
Chaldee and Arabic; and, with a design to understand them, sup- 
plied myself with Erpenius, Chappelow, and others: but I had 
not time to obtain any great knowledge of the Arabic ; the Chaldee 
I found easy enough, because of its connexion with the Hebrew. 

" I then investigated the Celtic, as far as possible, in all its 
dialects ; began collections, and made comparisons between that, 
the English, the Latin, the Greek, and even the Hebrew. 1 had 
made notes, and compared above three thousand of these together, 
and found such a surprising affinity, even beyond any expectation 
or conception, that I was determined to proceed through the whole 
of these languages, and forma comparative lexicon, which I hoped 
would account for numberless vocables in use with us, the Latins, 
and Greeks, before concealed and unobserved: this, or something 
like it, was the design of a clergyman of great erudition in Scot- 
land; but it must prove abortive, for he died before he executed it, 
and most of my books and papers are now scattered and lost." 

Such is the account Eugene Aram has given of himself, until 
the commission of the fatal act that brought down upon him the 
execration of the world, and the last vengeance of the law. Of 
all the crimes man is capable of committing, there is none so offen- 
sive to Omnipotence as murder; and the Almighty, therefore, seems 
to be more intent to expose that heinous and accursed offence to 
mankind ; to warn and to admonish them, to show them that rocks 
cannot hide, nor distance secure them from the inevitable conse* 


quences of the violation of that law which nature dictates and man 
confirms. The extraordinary means by which this murder was 
brought to light, is one of many instances of this divine interposition. 
Daniel Clark was born at Knaresborough, of reputable parents, 
where he lived and followed the business of a shoemaker. About 
the month of January, 1744 or 5, he married, and became possess- 
ed of property to the amount of two or three hundred pounds. He 
was at that time in very good credit at Knaresborough, and it is 
supposed a scheme was then laid by Eugene Aram, at that time a 
school-master in the town, and one Houseman, a flax-dresser, to 
defraud several tradesmen of great quantities of goods and plate, 
Clark having been chosen as the fittest person to carry their plan 
into execution ; for, as he then lived in very good reputation, and, 
moreover, was lately married, he was the person of all others best 
calculated to effect the intended purpose. Accordingly, Clark for 
some days went about to various tradesmen in the town, and under 
the pretext that, as he was just married, it was not altogether 
irrational to suppose that cloth, and table and bed-linen would 
considerably contribute to his matrimonial comfort, he took up 
great quantities of linen and woollen- drapery goods; the worthy 
dealers of Knaresborough rendering up their commodities with the 
greatest zeal and expedition on so interesting an occasion. After 
this, he went to several innkeepers and others, desiring to borrow 
a silver tankard of one, a nicely worked silver pint of another, 
and the like, alleging that he was to have company that night, and 
should be glad of the use of them at supper; and in order to give 
a colour to his story, he procured of the innkeepers (of whom he 
had borrowed the plate) ale and other liquors to regale his visitors. 

Some suspicious circumstances, however, appearing that night, 
and the following morning, a rumour got wind that Clark had 
absconded; and upon inquiry, most certainly, he was not to be 
found. An active search was immediately made for the goods and 
plate with which he had provided himself when some part of the 
goods was found at Houseman's house, and another part dug up 
in Aram's Garden ; but as no plate could be found it was concluded 
somewhat naturally, that with them Clark had decamped. The 
strictest inquiry was instantly set on foot to discover his retreat; 
persons were dispatched to all parts; advertisements describing his 
person, inserted in all the papers ; but to no purpose. 

Eugene Aram, being suspected to be an accomplice, a process 
was granted against him by the steward of the honour of Knares- 
borough to arrest bim for a debt due to a Mr. Norton, with a view 


to detain him till such time as a warrant could be obtained from 
the justice of the peace to apprehend him upon that charge, lo 
the surprise of all, however, the money was instantly paid, and 
moreover, at the same time, a considerable mortgage upon his house 
at Bondgate was also discharged. Soon afterwards, Aram left the 
town, and was not heard of until the month of June, 1758, when 
the murder of Clark being traced to him, he was found residing at 

Upwards of thirteen years after Clark's disappearance, it" hap- 
pened that a labourer employed in digging for stone to supply a 
lime-kiln, at a place called Thistle-hill, near Knaresborough, strik- 
ing about half-a-yard and half-a-quarter deep, turned up an arm 
bone, and the small bone of the leg of a human skeleton. His 
curiosity being excited, he carefully removed the earth round about 
the place, and discovered all the bones belonging to a body, pre- 
senting an appearance, from their position, as though the body 
had been doubled at the hips, though the bones were all perfect. 
This remarkable accident being rumoured in the town, gave rise 
to a suspicion, that Daniel Clark had been murdered and hurried 
there; for no other person had been missing thereabouts for sixty 
years and upwards. The coroner was instantly informed, and an 
inquest summoned. 

The wife of Eugene Aram, who had frequently before given 
hints of her suspicions, was now examined. From her evidence, 
it appeared that Clark was an intimate acquaintance of Aram's 
before the 8th of February, 1744-5, and they had had frequent 
transactions together, and with Houseman also. About two o'clock 
in the morning of the eighth of February, 1744-5, Aram, Clark, 
and Houseman, came to Aram's house and went up-stairs, where 
they remained about an hour. They then went out together, and 
Clark being the last, she observed that he had a sack or wallet on 
his back. About four, Aram and Houseman returned, but without 
th»ir companion. " Where is Clark?" she inquired; but her 
huaband only retained an angry look in reply, and desired her to 
go to bed, which she refused, and told him, " she feared he had 
been doing something wrong." Aram then went down stairs with 
the candle, and she being desirous to know what they were doing, 
followed thera, and from the top of the stairs heard Houseman *ay, 
".She's coming; if she does, she'll tell." "What can she tell, 
poor simple thing?" replied Aram, " she knows nothing. I'll 
hold the door to prevent her coming." " It's of no use, something 
must be done," returned Houseman; "if she don't split now, &be 


will some other time." " No, no, foolish," her husband said; 
" we'll coax her a little till her passion is off, and then." — " What ?" 
said Houseman sullenly, " shoot her," whispered Aram, " shoot 
her!" Mrs. Aram hearing this discourse, became very much alarm, 
ed, but remained quiet. At seven o'clock the same morning they 
both left the house, and she, immediately their backs were turned, 
went down stairs, and observed that there had been a fire below, 
and all the ashes taken out of the grate. She then examined the 
dunghill, and perceived ashes of a different kind lying upon it, 
and searching amongst them found several pieces of linen and 
woollen cloth very nearly burnt, which had the appearance of 
wearing apparel. When she returned into the house, she found a 
handkerchief that she had lent to Houseman the night before, and 
a round spot of blood upon it about the size of a shilling. House- 
man came back soon afterwards, and she charged him with having 
done some dreadful thing to Clark : but he pretended total ignorance, 
and added, " she was a fool, and knew not what she said." From 
these circumstances, she fully and conscientiously believed that 
Daniel Clark had been murdered by Houseman and Eugene Aram, 
on the 8th of February, 1744-5. 

Several other witnesses were examined, all affirming that House- 
man and Eugene Aram were the last persons seen with Clark, 
especially on the night of the 7th of February, being that after 
which he was missing. Upon hearing these testimonies, House- 
man, who was present, was observed to become very restless, dis- 
covering all the signs of guilt, such as trembling, turning pale, 
and faltering in his speech. Few men, guilty of the crime of 
murder, have the strength of heart and self-command to conceal 
it: by some circumstance or other, the truth will out; a look, a 
dream, and not unfrequently, as in this case, their own unfaithful 
tongue, is the involuntary agent that brings at last the blackened 
culprit to that punishment which unerringly awaits the man that 
sheds his brother's blood. Accordingly, upon the skeleton being 
produced, Houseman, taking up one of the bones, dropped this 
most unguarded expression ; " This is no more Daniel Clark's bone 
than it is mine," " What remarked the coroner instantly — " what? 
— how is this ? How can you be so sure that that is not Daniel 
Clark's bone ?" " Because I can produce a witness," replied 
Houseman, in evident confusion — " I can produce a witness who 
saw Daniel Clark upon the road two days after he was missing at 
Knaresborough." This witness was instantly summoned, and stated 
that he had never seen Clark after the 8th of February ; a friend 


however, had told him (and this only had he mentioned at first) 
that he met some one very like Clark ; but, it being a snowy day, 
and the person having the cape of his great coat up, he could not say 
with the least degree of certainty who he was. This explanation, 
so far from proving satisfactory, increased the suspicion against 
Houseman ; and accordingly a warrant was issued against him, 
and he was apprehended and brought before William Thornton, 
Esq., who, examining him, elicited a full aeknowledgmen^of the 
fact of his having been with Clark on the night in question, on 
account of some money (twenty pounds) that he had lent him, and 
which he wanted at the time very pressingly. He further stated, 
that Clark begged him to accept the value in goods, to which 
proposition he assented, and was necessarily, therefore, several 
times to and fro between Clark's house and his own, in order to 
remove the goods from one to the other. When he had finished, 
he left Clark at Aram's house, with Aram and another man whom 
he had never seen before. Aram and Clark, immediately after- 
wards, followed him out of the house of the former, and the stranger 
was with them. They then went in the direction of the Market- 
place, which the light of the moon enabled him to see, and he lost 
sight of them. He disavowed most solemnly that he came back to 
Aram's house that morning with Aram and Clark, as was asserted 
by Mrs. Aram; nor was he with Aram, but with Clark, at the 
house of the former on that night, whither he only went to seek 
Clark in order to obtain from him the note. 

Being then asked if he would sign this examination, he said he 
would rather waive it for the present, far he might have something 
to add, and, therefore desired to have time to consider of it. The 
magistrate then committed him to York Castle, when, expressing 
a wish to explain more fully, he was again brought before Mr. 
Thornton, and in his presence made the following confession: — 
That Daniel Clark was murdered by Eugene Aram, late of Knares- 
borough, a schoolmaster, and, as he believed, on Friday the 8th 
of February, 1744-5; for that Eugene Aram and Daniel Clark 
were together at Aram's house early that morning, and that he 
(Houseman) left the house and went up the street a little before, 
and they called to him, desiring he would go a short way with them; 
and he accordingly went with them to a place called St. Robert*! 
Cave, near Grimble Bridge, where the two former stopped, and 
there he saw Aram strike Clark several times over the breast and 
head, and saw him fall, as if he were dead; upon which he Came 
away and left them ; but whether Aram used any weapon or not to 


kill Clark, he could not tell, nor did he know what he did with the 
body afterwards, but believed that Aram left it at the mouth of the 
cave ; for that, seeing Aram do this, lest he might share the same 
fate, he made the best of his way to the bridge-end, where, looking 
back, he saw Aram coming from the cave-side, (which is in a 
private rock adjoining the river,) and could discern a bundle in 
his hand, but did not know what it was : upon this he hastened 
away to the town, without either joining Aram or seeing him again 
till the next day, and from that time he had never had discourse 
with him. He stated, however, afterwards, that Clark's body was 
buried in St. Robert's Cave, and that he was sure it was there, but 
desired it might remain till such time as Aram was taken. He 
added further, that Clark's head lay to the right, in a turn at the 
entrance of the cave. 

Proper persons were instantly appointed to examine St. Robert's 
Cave, when agreeably to Houseman's confession, the skeleton of 
a human body (the head lying as he had described,) was soon 
found. A warrant was instantly issued to apprehend Eugene Aram, 
who was discovered to be living at Lynn in the capacity of usher 
at a school. He confessed before the magistrate that he was well 
acquainted with Clark, and, to the best of his remembrance, about 
or before the 8th of February, 1744-5, but utterly denied any par- 
ticipation in the frauds which Clark stood charged with at the time 
of his disappearance. He also declared he knew nothing of the 
murder, and that the statements made by his wife were without 
exception false : he, however, declined to sign his examination on 
the same plea preferred by Houseman, that he might recollect him- 
self better, and lest anything should be omitted which might after- 
wards occur to him. On being conducted to the castle, he desired 
to return, and acknowledged that he was at his own house when 
Houseman and Clark came to him with some plate, of which Clark 
had defrauded his neighbours. He could not but observe that the 
former was very diligent in assisting; in fact, it was altogether 
Houseman's business; and there was no truth whatever in the 
statement that he came there to sign a note or instrument. All the 
leather which Clark had possessed himself of, amounting to a con- 
siderable value, was concealed under flax at Houseman's house, 
with the intention of disposing of it little by little, to prevent any 
suspicion of his being concerned in the robbery. The plate was 
beaten flat in St. Robert's Cave. At four o'clock in the morning, 
they, thinking it was too late to enable Clark to leave with safety, 


agreed that he should stay there till the next night, and he accord, 
ingly remained there all the following day. In order, then, the 
better to effect his escape, they both went down to the cave, House 
man only entering, while he watched without, lest any person 
should surprise them. On a sudden he heard a noise, and House- 
man appeared at the mouth of the cave, and told him that Clark 
was gone. He had a bag with him, containing plate, which he 
said he had purchased of Clark, money being much more portable 
than such cumbersome articles. They then went to Houseman's 
house, and concealed the property there, he fully believing that 
Clark had escaped. He never beard anything of Clark subse- 
quently, and was as much surprised to hear there was a suspicion 
of his being murdered, as that be (Eugene Aram) should be con- 
sidered to be the murderer. Notwithstanding this surprise, how- 
ever, his examination having been signed, he wa3 committed with 
his companion to York Castle, there to await the assizes. 

On the 3rd August, 1759, they were both brought to the bar. 
Houseman was arraigned on the former indictment, acquitted, and 
admitted evict •_ .ice against Aram, who was thereupon arraigned. 
Houseman was then called and deposed to the same effect as that 
which has already appeared in his own confession. Several wit- 
nesses were called who gave evidence as to finding several kinds 
of goods buried in Aram's garden, Aram's knowledge of the fact 
of Clark's possessing two hundred pounds, and to show that they 
both had been seen together on the evening of the 7th February. 
After which the skull was produced in court; on the left side there 
was a fracture, from the nature of which it was impossible to have 
been done but by the stroke of some blunt instrument. The skull 
was beaten inwards, and could not be replaced but from within. 
The surgeon gave it as his opinion, that no such breach could 
proceed from natural decay; that it was not a recent fracture by 
the spade or axe by which it might have been dug up; but seemed 
to be of some years' standing. 

Eugene Aram's defence, which he read, was marked with an 
undoubted manifestation of very considerable powers. It was learn- 
ed and argumentative ; and in some passages, glowing and eloquent. 
He attempted to show, that no rational inference can be drawn 
that a person is dead who suddenly disappears ; — that hermitages 
such as St.llobert's Cave were the constant repositories of the bones 
of the recluse ; that the proofs of this wt re well authenticated ; and, 
that therefore the conclusion that the bones found were those of some 


one killed in battle, or of some ascetic, remained no less reasonably 
than impatiently expected by him. A verdict of guilty was however 
returned, and he was condemned to be hanged accordingly. 

On the morning after his condemnation, he confessed the justice 
of his sentence to the two gentlemen who attended him, and ac- 
knowledged that he had murdered Clark. He told them, also, 
that he suspected Clark of having an unlawful commerce with his 
wife ; and that at the time of the murder he felt persuaded he was 
acting right, but since, he had thought otherwise. 

It was generally believed, as he promised to make a more ample 
confession on the day he was executed of every thing prior to the 
murder, that the whole would have been disclosed; but he put an 
end to any further discovery, by an attempt upon his own life. 
When he was called from his bed to have his chains taken off, he 
refused, alleging that he was very weak. On moving him, it was 
found he had inflicted a severe wound upon his arm, from which 
the blood was flowing copiously. He had concealed a razor in the 
condemned hold some time before. By proper and prompt appli- 
action3 he was brought to himself and though weak from loss of 
blood conducted to Tyburn in York, where being asked if he had 
any thing to say, he answered, " No." He was then executed, 
and his body conveyed to Knaresborough Forest, and hung in 
chains August 6, 1759, pursuant to his sentence. 

That Eugene Aram murdered Clark is beyond all question, since 
we have his confession ; that he committed the murder, actuated 
by the cause he alleges, is open to great suspicion. The strange 
solicitude which all men, even the most vicious, manifest, to leave 
behind a memory mingled with some little good, prompted him, 
doubtless, to give his crime the ennobling, or at least, mitigatory 
motive to which he attributes it. Whether the perpetration of a 
murder can be justified, even urged by the wrong Aram states 
himself to have suspected, may be left to the consideration of the 
casuist; but whether the dreadful act can be extenuated by as de- 
liberate and foul an attack on the virtue and character of an inno- 
cent and industrious woman, whom he upon all occasions treated 
with infamous barbarity, is a question we can confidently leave to 
the judgment and moral sense of every man. That Eugene Aram 
was leagued with Clark and Houseman in their fraud at Knares- 
borough, there can be little doubt ; that he plundered his unhappy 
victim after he had murdered him, there can be less ; that no sense 
of domestic injury would urge a man to rob another who had wrong- 
ed him after he had slain him, needs only to be mentioned to oe 


admitted; and theretore, believing conscientiously from these facts 
that th» charge against his wife was not maintainable, a double 
indignation is entailed upon the wretch who could add to the mea- 
sure of his crime this gratuitious calumny. 

Notwithstanding these facts and the inferences that every atten- 
tive reader must inevitably draw from them, Eugene Aram has 
: een deemed a fit hero for a popular novel ; and the execration with 
which he should have been consigned to posterity has been attempt- 
ed to be converted into a sentimental commiseration for a gentle 
student who beat out his friend's brains on philosophical principles, 
and converts his property to his own use purely with a view to the 
interests of science and the intellectual progression of the world at 

There is a remarkable similarity in crime and conduct between 
Aram and Thurtell, though they were so totally dissimilar in other 
particulars. Both were cold blooded, determined murderers — both 
selected for their victim an individual with whom they had been 
concerned in deeds of plunder ; though Thurtell had the advantage 
in being incited to his atrocity by revenge, Weare having cheated 
him at play. The defence of both was conducted on the same 
principle, that of endeavouring to overturn the evidence, by citing 
a variety of instances to prove witnesses might be mistaken ; for 
an uneducated man, Thurtell's defence was as clever as Aram's, 
and made a great impression on his judge, who complimented him 
upon it. Thurtell committed his defence to memory, and delivered 
it as if extemporaneously. Aram committed his to paper, and 
read it in court. Much has been said of Aram's general gentleness, 
love of learning, &c, and an attempt has been made to create 
an interest in his favour from these circumstances. Human 
nature is full of strange anomalies — we do not conceive this to 
argue any thing ; — Aram murdered Clark for the mere sake of his 
money — he would have shot his wife if he had had the opportunity ; 
and it appears from a statement in the Literary Gazette, emanating 
from Dr. L., Master of the Grammar School in Lynn, where 
Aram was arrested, that on one occasion when the doctor had re- 
ceived a considerable sum of money from the parents of his pupils, 
he was awakened by a noise at his bed-room door, in the middle 
of the night, and detected Aram there, dressed and in great con- 
fusion. The impression of the doctor was, that Aram, knowing 
he had the money in his bed-room, intended to rob, and no doubt 
to murder him, if it had been rendered necessary by discovery or 
opposition. Thurtell could bring forth as many claims to favour- 


able consideration as Aram. Determined murderer as Thurtell 
was, nothing could be more frank and good-natured than his gen- 
eral conduct;— and we have heard of many acts of disinterested- 
ness, humanity, and even honour emanating from him. Thurtell 
was as passionately attached to oratory and the drama as ever Aram 
could have been to philological researches ; and the manly and 
decent manner with which Thurtell resigned himself to his fate 
certainly gives him the advantage over the cowardly shrinking, at 
the eleventh hour, of the linguist. 


Was originally a native and inhabitant of Ireland; and, as it will 
appear in the sequel that the name of Barrington was assumed, let 
it suffice to remark that his father's name was Henry Waldron, and 
that he was a working silversmith ; while his mother, whose maiden 
name was Naish, was a mantua-maker, and occasionally a mid- 

Our adventurer was born about the year 1755, at the village of 
Maynooth, in the county of Kildare. His parents, who bore a 
good character for their industry, integrity, and general good be- 
haviour, were however, never able to rise to a state of indepen- 
dence, or security from indigence, owing to their engagement in a 
law-suit with a more powerful and opulent relative, in order to 
the recovery of a legacy, to which they conceived they had a legal 
right. To the narrowness of their circumstances, the neglect of 
their son's education is imputed; and therefore, they were incap- 
able of improving, or of giving a proper bias to those early indica- 
tions of natural abilities, and a superiority of talents, which must 
inevitably have unfolded themselves even in the dawn of young 
Barrington's existence. He was, notwithstanding these obstacles, 
instructed in reading and writing at an early age, at their expence ; 
and afterwards, through the bounty of a medical gentleman in the 
neighbourhood, he was initiated in the principles of common arith- 
metic, the elements of geography, and the outlines of English 

This ill-fated youth, however, enjoyed but for a short time the 
benefits he derived from the kindness of his first patron, a digni- 
tary of the church in Ireland ; for the violence of his passions 



which equalled at least the extent of his talents, precipitated him 
into an action by which he lost his favour for ever, and which, in 
its consequences, finally proved his ruin. When he had been 
about half a year at the grammar-school in Dublin, to which ho 
had been sent by his patron, he unluckily got into a dispute with 
a lad, much older, larger, and stronger than himself; the dispute 
degenerated into a quarrel, and some blows ensued, in which young 
Waldron suffered considerably ; but in order to be revenged, he 
stabbed his antagonist with a penknife; and had he not bCen 
seasonably prevented, would have in all probability murdered 
him. The discipline of the house, (flogging) however, was in- 
flicted with proper severity on the perpetrator of so atrocious an 
offence, which irritated the unrelenting and vindictive temper of 
the young man to such a degree that he determined at once to run 
away from school, from his family, and from his friends; thus 
abandoning the fair prospects that he had before him, and blasting 
all the hopes that had been fondly, though vainly, formed of the 
great things that might be effected by his genius when matured by 
time and improved by study. 

His plan of escape was no sooner formed than it was carried 
ato execution ; but previously to his departure, he found means to 
steal ten or twelve guineas from the master of the school, and a 
gold repeating watch from Mrs. Goldsborough, the master's sister. 
With this booty, a few shirts, and two or three pair of stockings, 
he silently but safely effected his retreat from the school-house, in 
the middle of a still night in the month of May 1771 ; and pursu- 
ing the great northern road all that night, and all the next day, 
he late in the evening arrived at the town of Drogheda, without 
interruption, without accident, and in a great measure without 
halting, without rest, and without food. 

The first place of safety at which young Waldron thought pro- 
per to halt, was at an obscure inn at Drogheda, where a company 
of strolling players happened to be at that time, it was the occa- 
sion of a new series of acquaintance, which, though formed on 
precipitation and on the spur of the occasion, was retained from 
choice and affection for a number of years. 

One John Price, the manager of the strolling company, became 
quickly the confidant and from the confidant the sole counsellor 
of the young fugitive Waldron, who, influenced by the ardour, the 
natural and unguarded ingenuousness of a youthful mind, com- 
municated to this new friend, without reserve, all the circumstances 
of his life and story. By his advice this unhappy youth renounced 


his paternal name, assumed that of Barrington, entered into the 
company, and in the course of four days, became so absolutely 
and formally a strolling son of Thespis, that he performed the part 
of Jaffier in " Venice Preserved," with some applause, to a crowd- 
ed audience, in a barn in the suburbs of Drogheda; and this with 
out the assistance of a prompter. 

Though the reception he met with on his debut was very flatter- 
ing to a mind like his, Price, as well as himself, thought it would 
not be proper for him to appear in public so near the scene of his 
late depredations in the capital. It was therefore resolved on by 
them that the whole company should without delay move to the 
northward, and, if possible, get to the distance of sixty or eighty 
miles from Dublin before they halted for any length of time. In 
order to enable so numerous a body to move with all their baggage, 
it was necessary to raise money; and in doing this, Barrington's 
assistance being the first thing that offered, was indispensably ne- 
cessary. He was accordingly applied to, and acquiesced with a 
good grace, giving Price Mrs. Goldsborough's gold repeater, which 
was disposed of for the general benefit of the strollers. 

As soon as the necessary funds were procured, all these children 
of Thespis set out for Londonderry, which was the place at which 
they first designed to play. Travelling but slowly they were a 
considerable time on their journey; and during the course of it, 
the penetrating eyes of the experienced actresses discovered that 
Barrington had made a tender impression on the heart of Miss 
Egerton, the young lady who played the part of Belvidera when 
he acted that of Jaffier at Drogheda. This poor girl was the 
daughter of an opulent tradesman at Coventry. She was young 
and beautiful, sweet tempered and accomplished, but now friend- 
less ; and, though like the rest, inured to misfortune, she was des- 
titute of the experience which is generally acquired during a series 
of sinister and untoward events. At the age of sixteen, she was 
seduced by a lieutenant of marines, with whom she fled from her 
father's house to Dublin, where in less than three months he aban 
doned her, leaving her a prey to poverty, infamy, and desperation. 

Having been thus deceived in the simplicity of innocence by 
the cunning and falsehood of one of the vilest and most profligate 
of human beings, she had no other resource from the most extreme 
want than closing with Price, who proposed to her to join his com- 
pany ; which, situated as she was, she readily agreed to do, and 
had been with him but a very short time when she saw Barrington, 
of whom, being of a warm constitution, she became rather sudden 


ly enamoured. But t< the credit of our adventurer, although hit 
affection was as ardent as her own, it was not of that brutal and 
profligate cast that so frequently disgraces the devious paths of 
youthful imprudence and indiscretion. On the part of Miss Eger- 
on, the symptoms of her affection for him were so obvious, that, 
inexperienced as he then was in matters of gallantry and intrigue, 
he not only perceived her passion but was sensible of her merit, 
and returned her love with perfect sincerity. 

It was not long before Price, urged a second time Dy want of 
money, found it expedient to insinuate to the unfortunate Barring- 
ton, that a young man of his address and appearance might very 
easily find means to introduce himself into some of the public 
places to which the merchants and chapmen of that commercial 
city generally resorted; and that he there might, without any great 
difficulty, find opportunities of picking their pockets unnoticed, 
and of escaping undetected, more especially at that particular time, 
when, the fair being held, a favourable juncture afforded itself of 
executing a plan of such a nature with safety and facility. The 
idea pleased our needy adventurer, and the plan formed on it was 
carried into execution by him and his trusty confidant John Price, 
the very next day, with great success; at least such it appeared to 
them at that time, their acquisitions having amounted, on the close 
of the evening, to about forty guineas in cash, and about 150/. 
Irish currency, in bank-notes; which, however, they artfully de- 
termined not, on any account, to circulate in the part of the 
kingdom in which they were obtained. This precaution became 
peculiarly necessary; for several gentlemen having been robbed, 
the town took the alarm, which was the greater, or at least made 
the more noise, from the rarity of such events in that part of the 
kingdom, where the picking of pockets is said to be very little 
practised or known. But whatever the alarm was, or whatever 
noise it made, neither Barrington nor his accomplice was sus- 
pected. They however resolved to leave Derry as soon as they 
could with any appearance of propriety depart from thence: so 
that, having played a few nights as usual, with more applause than 
profit, they and their associates of the sock and buskin removed 
from Londonderry to Ballyshannon, in the county of Donegal, 
and never more returned into that part of the kingdom, where 
George Barrington may be considered as having commenced the 
business of a regular and professed pickpocket, in the summer of 
the year 1771, being at that time little more than sixteen years of 
age, and having just laid by the profession of a strolling player. 


This wretched company having now become thieves as well as 
vagrants in the eye of the law, and compelled to subsist upon the 
plunder above mentioned, after travelling about a fortnight, arriv- 
ed at Ballyshannon. Here Barrington, with the company to which 
he belonged, spent the autumn and the winter of the year 1771, 
playing generally on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and picking pockets 
with John Price every day in the week, whenever opportunity of- 
fered; a business which, though attended with danger and certain 
infamy, he found more lucrative and more entertaining than that 
of the theatre, where his fame and his proficiency were by no means 
equal to the expectations he had raised, or to the hopes that had 
been formed of him on his first appearance at Drogheda. 

From Ballyshannon, at length, having left the company of his 
friend Price, he moved to the southward, with his faithful Miss 
Egerton, whom he had the misfortune to lose for ever in crossing 
the river Boyne, in which she was drowned, through the ignorance, 
or the more culpable negligence of a ferryman. 

Barrington, however, virtuous in his attachment to Miss Eger- 
ton, was for some time inconsolable for the loss which he had just 
sustained; but being neither of an age nor of a temper propitious 
to the continuance of sorrowful sensations, he hastened to Lime- 
rick, where he hoped to meet Price, his old accomplice. On his 
arrival in that city, he learned that the person after whom he had 
enquired had set out for Cork ten days before, and thither our ad- 
venturer followed him, and found him within an hour after he 
entered the town gates. On their meeting, it was agreed on by 
them never more to think of the stage ; a resolution which was the 
more easily executed, as the company to which they originally 
belonged was now broken up and dispersed. It was besides settled 
between them that Price should pass for Barrington's servant, and 
Barrington should act the part of a young gentleman of large 
fortune and of a noble family, who was not yet quite of age, but, 
until he should attain that period, travelled for his amusement. 
In pursuance of this hopeful scheme, horses were purchased, and 
the master and man, now united as knight errant and esquire, and 
well equipped for every purpose of depredation, accordingly took 
their determination to act their several parts in the wild field of 
adventure; and thus, in the summer of 1772, as the race grounds 
in the south of Ireland presented themselves as the fairest objects, 
they hastened to these scenes of spoliation, and were successful 
even beyond their expectation. 

Picking pockets being rather new amongst the gentry of Jreiaod 


their want of precaution rendered them a more easy prey to Mr. 
Harrington and his accomplice, who found means to retire to Cork 
on the setting in of winter, with a booty of nearly 1000J. In this 
city, they found it convenient to fix their residence, at least till 
the next spring. And now it was that Barrington first determined 
within himself to become what has been called a gentleman pick- 
pocket, and to affect both the airs and importance of a man of 
fashion. . 

In this desperate career of vice and folly, it was the fate of 
Price, the preceptor of Barrington, to be first detected in the act 
of picking the pocket of a gentleman of high rank, for which he 
was tried, convicted, and in a very short period, sentenced to 
transportation, for the term of seven years, to America. 

Barrington, naturally alarmed at the fate of his iniquitous pre- 
ceptor, without loss of time converted all his moveable property 
into cash, and taking horse, made as precipitate a journey to 
Dublin as he possibly could. 

On his arrival there, he lived rather in a private and retired 
manner, only lurking in the darkest evenings about the playhouses, 
where he occasionally picked up a few guineas or a watch. But 
he was soon weary of the sameness, and disgusted with the obs- 
curity of a life of comparative retirement, such as that he led in 
the Irish capital; so that when the spring and the fine weather 
that accompanied it returned, he embarked on board the Dorset 
yacht, which was then on the point of sailing with the Duke of 
Leinster for Parkgate ; and before the expiration of the week, he 
found himself for the first time of his life on English ground. 

With Sir Alexander Schomberg, who commanded the Dorset 
yacht, there were three other persons embarked, and of some dis- 
tinction, from whence it appeared that the connexion which our 
adventurer formed with them had considerable effect afterwards in 
the course of the long succession of transactions in which he was 
engaged. A young captain was one of the three who was most 
conspicuous, and as it will appear, a striking, though an innocent 
cause of Barrington's success in his projects of depredation. 

It did not require so much sagacity and penetration as Barrington 
at the time certainly possessed, to penetrate into the character of 
this young gentleman, and to predict the good consequences that 
might follow an intimacy with a young man of his rank, disposition, 
and family. Actuated by a sordid sense of the utility of such a 
connexion to one in his circumstances, the adventurer employed 
all those base arts of flattery and insinuation, of which he had 


been long a perfect master, to ingratiate himself with this gentle- 
man ; and in this design he succeeded to the utmost extent of his 
wishes. Barrington formed an artful tale, which he told as his 
own story, the purport of which was, that his father was a man of 
a noble family in Ireland, and illustrious in England, to which 
country he himself now came to study law in one of the inns of 
court, more, however, to avoid the illnatured severity of a harsh, 
unrelenting step-mother, which rendered his paternal mansion in 
a great measure intolerable to him, than from any predilection for 
the profession to which he intended to apply himself, but the 
exercise of which the ample fortune that he was heir to would 
render unnecessary. 

The story took as well as could be desired by the inventor of it, 
and it was settled between him and his new friend that he should, 
on his arrival in town, enter himself of the Middle Temple, where 

Mr. H n had some relations and a numerous acquaintance, to 

whom, he said, he should be happy to introduce a gentleman so 
eminently distinguished by his talents and his accomplishments, as 
well as by his fortune and birth, as Mr. Barrington was. 

It was also further agreed on between them, that they should 
travel together to London; and they accordingly the next day 
took a post-chaise at Parkgate, and continuing their journey by 
easy stages through Chester, Nantwich, and Coventry, where they 
stopped two or three days, arrived by the end of the week at the 
Bath Coffee-house in Piccadilly, which, on the recommendation 
of the captain, who had been several times before in the metropolis, 
was fixed upon as their head- quarters for the remaining part of the 

But the expensive manner in which he lived with Mr. H n, 

and those to whose acquaintance that gentleman introduced him, 
all of them gay, sprightly young fellows, who had money at com- 
mand, in less than a month reduced the funds which Barrington 
had brought w r ith him from Ireland to about twenty guineas, which 
to him, who had been now for some years accustomed to live like 
a man of affluent fortune, seemed to afford a very inconsiderable 
resource : he therefore resolutely determined to procure a supply 
of money by some means or other. One evening, while he was 
deliberating with himself on the choice of expedients to recruit 
his finances, he was interrupted in his meditations on the subject, 
by the arrival of a party of his friends with the captain, who pro- 
posed to accompany them to Ranelagh, where they had agreed to 
meet some of their acquaintance, and to spend the evening. Their 


proposal was, without much hesitation, acceded to by Barrington, 
and they, without further loss of time, ordered coaches to set them 
down at that celebrated place of amusement. 

Walking in the middle of the gay scenes that surrounded him, 
he chanced to espy the two other companions of his voyage in the 
Dorset Packet, to whom he only made a slight bow of recognition ; 
and in less than a quarter of an hour afterwards he saw the Duke 
of Leinster engaged deeply in conversation with two ladies and a 
Knight of the Bath, who, it afterwards turned out, was Sir William 
Draper; and near these he placed himself, quitting for a short time 
the company to which he belonged. While he was stationed there, 
an opportunity, which he considered a fair one, offered itself of 
making a good booty, and he availed himself of it; he picked the 
Duke's pocket of about eighty pounds, Sir William's of five-and- 
thirly guineas, and one of the ladies of her watch, with all which 
he got off undiscovered by the parties, and joined the captain and 
his party as if nothing had happened out of the ordinary and com- 
mon routine of affairs in such places of public recreation as llaue- 

A degree of fatality, rather unfortunate for Barrington, it seems, 
occurred during the perpetration of the robbery just related; that 
is to say, he was observed in the very act by one of the persons 
who came with him in the Dorset yacht from Ireland to Parkgate ; 
and this man, who was also a practitioner in the same trade of 
infamy, lost no time in communicating what he saw to Barrington 
himself, and that in a manner not by any means calculated to con- 
ceal his triumph on the occasion : in fact, this gentleman's affairs 
being pressing, he made very little ceremony of informing Mr. 
Barrington that, unless he was willing to give him a share of the 
plunder, he should communicate to the parties robbed, without 
delay, the particulars of what he had seen. The consequence of 
a proposal of this nature presenting a disagreeable alternative, Mr. 
Barrington, as it may be imagined, naturally chose the least of 
two evils, and, under pretence of being attacked with a sudden 
complaint, immediately retired with his new acquaintance to town, 
and putting up at the Golden Cross inn, at Charing-cross, the booty 
acquired at Kanelagh was in some sense divided, the new intruder 
contenting himself with taking the lady's watch, chain, &c, which 
were of gold, and a ten pound note, leaving all the rest of the 
money and bank-papers with Mr. Barrington, who, he probably 
-onceived, had iuii the greatest risk to obtain them at first. 

U*it in order to cement the connexion which these two were uow 


on the point of forming, Mr James (for by that name ihis new 
accomplice called himself) insisted upon Barrington supping with 
him; and as Mr. James knew the town much better than himself, 
Barrington thought he would be a real acquisition, particularly in 
helping him to dispose of the valuables he might acquire. Picking 
pockets, therefore, was proposed by Mr. Barrington as a joint 

The outlines of the future operations of these adventurous col- 
leagues being adjusted, it was further agreed upon to have another 
interview on the next day at a tavern in the Strand, there to 
regulate the plan of their future conduct ; and affairs being so far 
arranged, Barrington returned to his lodgings at the Bath Coffee- 
house, where, luckily enough, neither Captain H n nor any 

of his party were at that time arrived from Ranelagh. 

The next morning, at breakfast, he informed his friend the cap- 
tain, that on his return last night he chanced to meet a very worthy 
relation of his, Sir Fitzwilliam Barrington, who engaged him that 
day to dinner ; so that it would be out of his power to make one of 
the party that were to spend the day with the captain at the Thatch- 
ed-house tavern; but that, however, he would endeavour to con- 
trive matters so as to join them early in the evening, and stay to 
supper with them, if they were bent upon keeping it up to a late 

This apology was received without any suspicion by the gentle- 
man to whom it was made, as it accounted plausibly enough for 
his fellow traveller's absenting himself, notwithstanding his prior 
engagement to Mr. H n. 

Afterwards, Barrington being dressed, called a coach and drove 
to the Crown and Anchor tavern, wliere he found Mr. James, who 
had been for some time waiting for him. The cloth being removed, 
and the servants withdrawn, these worthy gentlemen entered upon 
business. It was agreed upon, that whatever either acquired, should 
be equally divided between them; and that in the sale of watches, 
jewels, or any other articles they might have to dispose, of, both 
should be present. By this provision, no suspicion of fraud could 
be entertained: and thus Barrington got what he extremely wish- 
ed, and greatly wanted, an introduction to a receiver of stolen 
goods. It was farther settled by them, that while the captain re- 
mained in town, they should take care not to be seen together, 
and that Mr. James should resume his long neglected habit of a 
clergyman. These weighty conditions, and some others of equaJ 


magnitude and importance, being ultimately adjusted to the satis- 
faction of these systematic plunderers, it was determined on that 
they should meet regularly twice a week, that is, on Tuesdays and 
Fridays, to settle with each other; but never, if it could possibly 
be avoided, twice at the same house. Having then adjourned to 
the next Tuesday, and fixed on the Devil tavern, at Temple-bar, 
as the place of their next meeting, our adventurers separated for 
that time, Barrington going, according to his appointment, to flte 
Thatched-house tavern, and reaching it about eight in the evening, 
where he found his friend the Captain, and a large party of his 
acquaintance. Though rather far gone in liquor, most of them 
knew him personally, and considering him in the light in which 

he was represented to them by Captian H n, as a young man 

of condition, they were delighted with his company. He only 
waited till the bills were called for, and the reckoning discharged, 
when, there being no farther obstacle to a hasty retreat, he plun- 
dered those who were most off their guard ; or rather those who, as 
he supposed, were possessed of the most portable kind of property. 
Still, as the prey then made consisted more of watches and trinkets 
than ready cash, he was under the necessity of calling upon Mr. 
James, his new friend, next morning, who readily introduced him 
to a man, a receiver of stolen property, and, who paying them 
what they deemed an adequate consideration, they made the first 
division with as much apparent satisfaction as if they had been 
lawful dealers in the commodities of which they had unjustly de- 
prived the right owners. 

So strongly did appearance plead for him at this time, that Bar- 
rington's depredation was never imputed to him by those who suf- 
fered in consequence of it ; and though similar offences were at 
different seasons, for upwards of two years, committed by him 
without suspicion or detection, he preserved his fame, and even 
extended his acquaintance. With certain superficial qualifications 
for shining in company, and yet a stranger to honour or honesty, 
in the summer of the year 1775, in the course of his depredations, 
he visited, as his custom was, the most celebrated watering-places; 
and among the rest he went to Brighton, which at that time, though 
frequented by genteel company, was far from having arrived at the 
celebrity which it has since acquired, especially since the conclu- 
sion of the peace with France. But notwithstanding the paucity 
of numbers at this watering-place, he is said to have had the 
address to ingratiate himself into the notice and favour of the late 


Duke of Ancaster, with several other persons of rank and property, 
who a/1 considered him as a man of genius and ability, and as a gen- 
tleman of fortune and noble family. 

But, in tracing all Mr. Barrington's very singular connexions, 
it is necessary to remark, that about the conclusion of this winter 
he got acquainted with one Lowe, a very singular character, and 
one who, like his friend James, he occasionally made use of to vend 
his ill-gotten property. 

Mr. Barrington's new junction with Mr. Lowe, having rendered 
Mr. James rather a dead weight upon his hands, he began to think 
about breaking with him, which he did not find a difficult matter, 
as James, having at bottom some remorse of conscience for his 
neglect of the laws of justice and moral obligation, very easily 
quitted Mr. Barrington's connexion ; and what is more extraordi- 
nary, being a Roman Catholic by profession, retired to a monaste- 
ry upon the Continent, there in all probability to end his days in 
piety and peace. Barrington, on the other hand, seemed to in- 
crease in temerity and desperation; for on his forming a connexion 
with Lowe, which was but a short time previous to that evening of 
the month of January which was observed as the anniversary of 
the queen's birth-day, it was resolved on between them, that, 
habited as a clergyman, he should repair to court, and there endea- 
vour, not only to pick the pockets of some of the company, but what 
was a bolder and a much more novel attempt, to cut off the dia- 
mond orders of some of the knights of the Garter, Bath, and 
Thistle, who on such days usually wear the collars of their respec- 
tive orders over their coats. In this enterprize he succeeded 
beyond the most sanguine expectations that could have been formed 
by either his new accomplice Lowe or himself; for he found means 
to deprive a nobleman of his diamond order, and also contrived to 
get away from the palace without suspicion. This being an article 
of too much value to dispose of in England, it is reported that it 
was sold to a Dutchman, or rather to a Dutch Jew, who came 
over from Holland once or twice a-year for the sole object of buy- 
ing jewels that had been stolen; and though a stranger, he is 
generally reported to have given a much higher price for such ar- 
ticles, than could have been gotten from the eceivers in town. 

The celebrated Russian Prince Orloff paid his first visit to Eng- 
land in the winter of 1775. The high degree of estimation in 
which that nobleman had long been held by the late Empress 
Catherine, had ultimately heaped upon him not a few of her dis- 
tinguishing favours. Among other things of this nature, she had 


expressed her approbation of his merits by presenting him with a 
gold snuff-box, set with brilliants, generally supposed to have 
been worth no less a sum than thirty thousand pounds. This 
distinguishing trophy having caught the eye of Barrington, im- 
pelled him to contrive means to get it into his possession, and he 
thought a fit opportunity presented itself one night at Covent Garden 
Theatre, where getting near the prince, he had the dexterity to 
convey it out of his excellency's waistcoat pocket into his «wn ; 
when, being immediately suspected by the prince, he seized him 
by the collar; but, in the bustle that took place, Barrington slip- 
ped the box into his hand, which that nobleman gladly retained, 
though Barrington, to the astonishment of all around, was secured 
and lodged in Tothill-ficlds Bride well till the Wednesday following, 
when his examination took place at the public office in Bow-street. 
Sir John Fielding being at that time the magistrate, Barring- 
ton represented himself to him as a native of Ireland, of an 
affluent and respectable family. He said that he had been educat- 
ed in the medical line, and came to England to improve himself 
by the extent of his connexions. To this plausible representation 
he added so many tears, and seemed to rest so much upon his 
being an unfortunate gentleman, rather than a guilty culprit, 
that Prince Orloff declining to prosecute him, he was dismissed 
with an admonition from the magistrate to amend his future con- 
duct; but this, it will appear, had no manner of influence upon 
his subsequent proceedings. In fact, Barrington having gone too 
far to recede, every one now taking alarm at his character and 
conduct, and the public prints naturally holding him up as a cheat 
and impostor, he was even forsaken by those who, until that dis 
covery of his practices, generally countenanced him, and enjoyed 
his company as a young gentleman of no common abilities. 

Being in the lobby of the Lords one day, when an appeal of au 
interesting nature was expected to come on, so that Barrington 
thought to profit by numbers of genteel people that generally 
attend; unhappily for Barrington's projects, a gentleman recog- 
nised his person, and applying to the Deputy Usher of the black 
rod, Barrington was disgracefully turned out, and of course, totally 
disappointed of the harvest he had promised himself. 

Barrington, having by some means heard that this gentleman 
was the person who had denounced him to the keeper of the lobby, 
was so indiscreet as to threaten him with revenge for what he 
deemed an unmerited injury; but the magistrates thinking other- 
wise, they granted, upon that gentleman's complaint, a warrant 


against Barrington to bind him over to keep the peace. His credit 
having sunk so very low, that not one of all his numerous acquaint- 
ance would become a surety for him, he was compelled to go to 
Tothill-field's Bridewell, where he remaned a considerable time 
under confinement, from his inability to procure the bail that was 
required. However, ha.ving again- obtained a release from that 
disagreeable quarter, he had no alternative but that of his old pro- 
fession, and therefore, in about three months afterwards, we find 
him detected in picking the pocket of a low woman, at Drury-Lane 
Theatre, for which, being indicted and convicted at the Old Bailey, 
he was sentenced to ballast-heaving, or in other words, to three 
year's hard labour on the river Thames, on board of the hulks at 
Woolwich. As soon as it was convenient, in the spring of 1777 
Barrington was put on board one of these vessels. 

A sudden remove from ease and affluence to a scene of wretched 
servitude and suffering, and the privation of almost every comfort 
in life, could not but have a most sensible effect upon a man in his 
condition. In short, he was not only harrassed and fatigued with 
labour, to which he had been unaccustomed, but even disgusted with 
the filthy language of his fellow convicts, whose blasphemous effu- 
sions, which they seemed to make use of by way of amusement, 
must have been a constant source of the most disagreeable sensa- 
tions in the mind of almost any person not totally lost to the feelings 
and the decencies of civilized, or even a savage state of existence. 
At length the mental as well as the corporeal sufferings of Barring- 
ton, did not escape the notice of Messrs. Erskine and Duncan Camp- 
bell, the superintendents of the convicts; for, in consequence of 
Barrington's good behaviour, and through the interference of these 
gentlemen, he was again set at liberty, after sustaining nearly a 
twelvemonth's severe suffering on board the hulks of Woolwich. 

Still, nothing that Barrington had yet undergone was sufficient 
to produce any cordial repentance in his mind. He again entered 
into the full practice of his former profession. In less than six 
months after his liberation from hard labour, he was detected by 
one Payne, a very zealous constable in the city, in the very act of 
picking pockets at St. Sepulchre's church during divine service, 
and being convicted upon undeniable evidence at the ensuing Old 
Bailey Sessions, he was a second time sentenced to hard labour on 
board the hulks, and that for five years. 

It was upon his trial on this occasion, that Barrington was first 
noticed in the public prints as an able speaker. He then essayed, 
with n< small degree of artifice, to interest the feelings of the court 


in his behalf; but the evidences of his guilt being too forcible and 
repeated, and all his efforts proving abortive, he was once more 
removed to the hulks, about the middle of the year 1778. Being 
a second time in this humiliating and disgraceful situation, he found 
his imaginary consequence so much hurt, that, failing in a variety 
of plans to effect his escape, his next attempt was to destroy him- 
self. For this purpose, he took an opportunity to be seen stabbing 
himself with a penknife in the breast; but as the wound, by.the 
immediate application of medical assistance, was slowly heated, 
he continued to linger in this new state of wretchedness, till hap- 
pening to be seen by a gentleman who came to visit the hulks, it 
produced another event in his favour. 

The gentleman just alluded to being most sensibly affected by 
the dejected and squalid appearance of Barrington, made a most 
successful use of his influence with government to obtain Barring- 
ton's release, upon the condition that he should leave the kingdom. 
To this as Barrington gladly assented, he generously supplied him 
with a sum of money to defray the expense of his removal to Ire- 
land, where it is understood this unhappy offender always persisted 
in stating that he had friends and relatives of credit and character. 
In London he did not think proper to stay longer than was needful 
to procure necessaries for his journey ; he therefore took the Chester 
coach, and in the course of a week was enabled to reach the Irish 
capital, where his fame having arrived before, he was looked upon 
with such an eye of suspicion, that he was very shortly apprehend- 
ed for picking the pocket of an Irish nobleman of a gold watch 
and his money at one of the theatres, and was soon after committed 
to the New Gaol to be tried upon the charge, but was acquitted for 
want of evidence. 

Though he was acquitted on this occasion, he was perfectly con- 
vinced that the Irish capital would be too warm to retain him. He 
quickly determined to leave Ireland, and accordingly removed 
to the northern parts of that kingdom, through which he took his 
way to Edinburgh, where he concluded that he might, for some 
time at least, commit his depredations with greater safety and faci- 
lity than he could do either in London or Dublin. 

But, in the opinion which he had formed of the character of the 
Scots, he soon learned by experience that he was grossly mistaken: 
for he was quickly observed in the capital of Scotland, where the 
police is more vigilant and severe than in most other parts of the 
British dominions. He therefore thought it prudent to depart from 
Edinburgh, where his gleanings were comparatively small. 


However, being determined to return to London, he took the 
Chester in his way, and it being fair-time there, he is said to have 
contrived to get possession of the amount of six hundred pounds in 
cash and banknotes, with which he got clear off. 

Such are the delusions of vice and the fatal sweets of ill-gotten 
wealth, that, though additional danger attended his public appear- 
ance, from the infraction of the terms on which he was liberated 
from his confinement on board the hulks, (which were those of his 
leaving the kingdom and never more returning to it,) still he fre- 
quented the theatres, the Opera-House, and the Pantheon, with 
tolerable success. But he was now too notorious to be long secure : 
he was closely watched and well nigh detected at the latter of these 
places ; at least, such strong suspicions were entertained by the 
magistrates of hi* conduct on the occasion, that he was taken into 
custody, and committed to Newgate. 

Here again, for want of evidence, he got clear of the charge 
brought against him; but, notwithstanding this, he was unexpect- 
edly detained at the instance of Mr. Duncan Campbell, the super- 
intendent of the convicts, for having returned to England, in 
violation of the condition on which His Majesty was pleased to 
grant him a remission of the punishment which he was sentenced 
to undergo on board the hulks ; and the consequence of the detainer 
was, that he was made what is called a fine at Newgate, during 
the unexpired part of the time that he was originally to have ser- 
ved on the Thames. When the period of his captivity in this 
prison expired, he was, as a matter of course, set at liberty ; and 
as usual, no sooner obtained his liberty, than he returned to his 
former practices. He, however, was now more cautious; and 
being connected with some accomplices of his own cast, he was 
not so easily detected as he might have been with others less 

In a state of alarm and anxiety, he lived a considerable time in 
the society of the most profligate and abandoned characters of the 
metropolis, when he was seen to pick the pocket of Mr. Le Mesu- 
rier, at Drury-lane playhouse, and was immediately apprehended. 
Charge of him was given to one Blandy, a constable, who, through 
negligence or corruption, suffered him to make his escape. The 
proceedings against him were carried on to an outlawry, and vari- 
ous methods were made use of to detect him, for nearly two years, 
without effect. 

But while the lawyers were outlawing him, and the constables 
endeavouring to take him, he was travelling in various disguises 


and characters through the northern counties of this kingdom 
He visited the great towns in those parts as a quack-doctor, or as 
a clergyman; sometimes he went with an E. O. table, and some- 
times he pretended to be a traveller to a manufacturing house at 
Birmingham or Manchester; and travelling on horseback, with a 
decent deportment and grave appearance, the account which he 
thought proper to give of himself was credited, without any diffi- 
culty, by those who questioned him. •» 

But, in spite of all these precautions, it sometimes happened 
that he was known by gentlemen whom he met, once particularly 
in Lincolnshire; yet no one offered to molest or intercept him, until 
he arrived at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where, on being recognised, 
he was suspected of picking pockets, and, on enquiry, was disco- 
vered to be an outlaw : upon which he was removed by a writ 
of habeas corpus to London, and imprisoned in Newgate where he 
arrived miserably and so dejected, that on learning his circum- 
stances, some of his friends made a subscription for him, by 
which they collected near a hundred guineas for his use, by which 
he was enabled to employ counsel, and to take legal measures to 
have the outlawry against him reversed. 

This being effected, he was tried for the original offence, that of 
stealing Mr. Le Mesurier's purse; but, through the absence of the 
Rev. Mr. Adeane, a material witness for the prosecution, he was 
acquitted. Being once more enlarged, he again setoff for Ireland, 
in company with a young man of the name of Hubert, well known 
in town for his fraud on the Duke of York. With this accomplice 
he was so infatuated as to endeavour to carry on his depredations 
in Dublin, where it was never his fortune to remain for any length 
of time undetected ; for, Hubert being taken in the fact of picking 
a gentleman's pocket, and handing the property to Barrington, he 
with great difficulty made his escape to England, where he rambled 
about for some time previously to his arrival in the capital, which 
he had scarcely entered, when he was taken into custody for pick- 
ing Mr. Henry Hare Townsend's pocket of a gold watch. 

Hubert, his accomplice, was tried at Dublin, and sentenced to 
transportation for seven years ; but he afterwards contrived to make 
his escape. 

On Wednesday morning, September 15th, 1790, Barrington was 
put to the bar to be arraigned on an indictment charging him with 
stealing, on the 1st September, 1790, in the parish of Eniield, a 
^old watch, chain, and seals, the property of Henry Hare Town- 
send, Esq. Uoon this occasion Bairington displayed all the talents 


which it has been universally admitted he possessed; but in spite 
of a long speech, which professed, whether sincere or assumed, 
great contrition for his past offences, and a determination to amend 
his life for the future, he was convicted, and sentenced by the judge 
to seven year's transportation. 

During the voyage to Port Jackson, Barrington rendered an 
essential service in quelling a mutiny in the vessel. Upon this 
occasion the captain evinced his gratitude for the services he had 
performed, and when they reached the Cape, at the recommenda- 
tion of the former, he received a hundred dollars reward for his zeal 
and activity. 

On their arrival at Port Jackson, Barrington having been recom- 
mended to the governor, was placed in the first instance at Tam- 
gabbe as a subordinate, and was soon advanced to be a principal 
watchman, in which situation he acquitted himself as a useful and 
active officer; insomuch that the governor determined to withdraw 
him from the convicts ; and at the same time that he received his in- 
strument of emancipation, he was presented with a grant of thirty 
acres of land at Paramatta. He was subsequently appointed super- 
intendent of the convicts ; and although not permitted to return to 
England, was invested with all the immunities of a freeman, a set- 
tler, and a civil officer, and had the satisfaction to know that his dili- 
gence and activity were not only without suspicion, but were fully 

It was here that Barrington resolved to revise the notes he had 
taken during the voyage, and of describing more fully the places 
they had touched at. He has accordingly produced a very useful 
and instructive work. 

In addition to this performance, he compiled a complete history 
of the country itself, from its first discovery, comprehending an 
account of its original inhabitants, their customs and manners, 
accompanied with an historical detail of the proceedings of the 
colony from its foundation to his own time. 

Barrington's good behaviour after his arrival at Sidney, gained 
him many friends; by whose interest he was appointed constable; 
and while in that office he wrote a prologue to a play that was 
brought out at Sidney, the two first lines of which ran as follows : — 

True Patriots we, for, be it understood, 
We left our Country, for our Country's good. 

This was perfectly understood by the audience, and elicited con- 
siderable applause, as the remainder of the prologue was equally 



He continued in the situation in which the governor had placed 
him till his death : and performed the duties of his office with an 
unwearied assiduity, which at last superinduced a general decay of 
nature, of which he died in the year 1811. 

The life of Barrington presents much food for those who are 
believers in the pernicious doctrines of Fatality — and has always 
been brought forward and adduced by them as one proof of the 
truth of the tenets which they endeavour to promulgate. 

That his whole existence was an evidence of the truth of the old 
saying " that great effects spring from trifling causes" we must 
allow, but the same may be said of almost every other human 
being, whether in a high or low state of society. 

That there is a secret influence by which the affairs both of men 
and nations are governed, whether domestic or political, we are 
willing to allow, but we are fully convinced, that every thing that 
can tend to benefit a man's estate, must be derivable from himself, 
must be produced by his own energy of mind, activity of body, 
and decision of character, in the first instance, or as Shakspeare 
beautifully expresses it — 

" There is a tide in the affairs of men, 
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune ; 
Omitted, all the voyage of their life 
Is bound in shallows and in miseries." 
Barrington, like too many of his fraternity, lost the golden 
opportunity in his early life, and his whole existence afterwardi 
was as the waves of the sea — unsubjeeted to control, unrestrained 
by licence, and unchecked by religion. , 



Was a native of Wales, and descended from a respectable familv. 
His father was a wealthy farmer; but young Morgan had no incli- 
nation to that industrious mode of life. Abandoning his father'* 
house, he hastened to a sea-port town, where several vessels were 
bound for the Isle of Barbadoes. He went into the service of one 
of these ; and upon his arrival in the island, was sold for a slave. 
Having obtained his liberty, he proceeded to Jamaica, where finding 
two pirate vessels ready to go to sea, he went on board one of them, 
with the intention of becoming pirate. Having performed several 
successful voyages, he agreed with some of his companions to unite 
their wealth to purchase a vessel; which being done, he was 
unanimously chosen captain. m 

With this vessel he went to cruise upon the coasts of Campeachy, 
and capturing several vessels, returned in triumph to Jamaica. 
Upon his arrival, one Mansvelt, an old pirate, was equipping a 
fleet, with the intention of landing upon the continent and pillag- 
ing the country. The success of Morgan induced Mansvelt to 
choose him for his vice-admiral. With a fleet of fifteen ships and 
*ive hundred men, they set sail from Jamaica, and arrived at the 
Isle of St. Catherine. Here they made a descent, and landed the 
greater part of their men. 

They soon forced the garrison to surrender, and to deliver up 
all the forts and castles, which they demolished, only reserving 
one, in which they placed a hundred men, and the slaves they had 
taken from the Spaniards. Then proceeding to an adjoining small 
island, and having destroyed both islands with fire and sword, and 
made what arrangements were necessary at the castle, which thev 


had garrisoned, they set sail in quest of new spoils. They cruised 
upon the coasts of Costa Rica, and entered the river Calla, with 
the intention of pillaging all the towns upon the coast. 

Informed of their arrival, and of their former depredations, the 
governor of Panama collected a force to oppose the pirates. They 
fled at his approach, and hastened to the Island of St. Catherine 
to visit their companions who were left in the garrison. Le Sieu.r 
Simon, the Governor, had put the large island in a posture of de- 
fence, and cultivated the small island with such care, that it was 
able to afford fresh provisions to the whole fleet. The vicinity of 
these islands to the Spanish dominions, and the ease with which 
they could be defended, strongly inclined Mansvelt to retain them 
in perpetual possession. 

With this view he returned to Jamaica to send out greater num- 
bers, that they might thus be able to defend themselves in case of 
an attack from the Spaniards. He signified his intentions to the 
Governor of Jamaica upon his return home ; but, afraid of offend- 
ing the King of England, and of weakening the strength of his 
own island, the governor declined complying with his wishes. 
Baffled in his designs, he went to the Island of Tortuga to solicit 
reinforcements from the governor; but before he could effect his 
purpose, death suddenly put an end to his wicked career. 

Meanwhile, the governor of the garrison of St. Catherine, re- 
ceiving no intelligence of his admiral, was extremely anxious con- 
cerning the cause of his long absence. The Spanish governor of 
Costa Rica, apprised of the injury that would accrue to his master 
by those two islands^emaining in the hands of the pirates, equipped 
a considerable fleet to retake the islands. But, before proceeding 
to extremities, he wrote to Le Sieur Simon to inform him that, if 
he willingly surrendered, he should be amply rewarded; but, if 
he resisted, severely punished. Having no hope of being able to 
defend the islands against such a superior force, he surrendered 
them into the hands of their rightful owner. A few days after this, 
an English vessel arrived from Jamaica with a large supply of men, 
women, and stores. The Spaniards, seeing the ships from the 
castle, prevailed upon Le Sieur Simon to go on board to decoy 
them into the harbour : which he dexterously effecting, they were 
all made prisoners. 

But the active and intrepid mind of Morgan was soon employed 
in the execution of new plans He at first equipped one ship, 
with the intention of collecting as many as he possibly could i^ 
form a strong fleet to carry on his depredations. Being successful 


in collecting a fleet of twelve sail, with seven hundred men, he 
rendezvoused in a certain part of the island of Cuba. 

Captain Morgan had only been two months in the south of Cuba, 
when he called a council of his fleet to concert measures for attaek- 
ing some part of the Spanish dominions. Several proposals were 
agitated; but it was finally resolved to attack the town of El 
Puerto del Principe. When arriving in the bay of that place, a 
Spaniard, who was on board the pirate fleet, swam on shore during 
the night, and gave intelligence of their designs to the governor 
and inhabitants of the town. They hastened to conceal their 
riches, and to muster their whole force to oppose the invaders. 
Having »ollected about eight hundred men, cut down trees and 
placed them across the road to impede the march of the pirates, 
and formed several ambuscades, taking besides possession of a 
pass through which they had occasion to penetrate; the governor, 
with the remainder of his forces, drew up on an extended plain in 
the vicinity of the town. 

Captain Morgan, finding the passage to the town impenetrable, 
made a circuit through the woods, escaped several of the ambuscades, 
and with great difficulty arrived at the plain where the Spaniards 
were waiting to give him a warm reception. A detachment of 
horse first attacked him, but Morgan formed his men into a semi- 
circle, and so valiantly and dexterously assailed the Spaniards, 
that they fled towards the woods for safety, but before they could reach 
the covert, the greater part fell under the swords of the invaders. 
After a skirmish of four hours, Morgan and his men entered the 
town, but the inhabitants having shut themselves up in their 
houses, fired upon the enemy. Being severely annoyed by the 
inhabitants i& this position, Captain Morgan threatened them, 
" that if they did not surrender willingly, they should soon behohj 
their city in flames, and their wives and children torn to pieces 
before their eyes." Thus intimidated, they submitted to the dis- 
cretion of the pirates. 

The pirates then proceeded to unexampled cruelty ; shut up the 
men, women, and children in the several churches, and plundered 
the town ; then searched and pillaged the whole adjacent country, 
and began to feast and rejoice, while they left their prisoners to 
starve. Unsatisfied even with this, they began to torment them, 
in order to constrain them to reveal where their money or goods 
were concealed. 

Finding no more to pillage, and provisions becoming scarce, the 
pirates meditated a departure. With this intention, they intimated 

294 ENGLISH PlllATEb. 

to the wretched inhabitants, " that if they did not ransom them- 
selves, they should all be transported to Jamaica, and their city 
laid in ashes." The Spaniards accordingly sent some of their 
numbers to search the woods and country for the required contri- 
butions. In a short time they returned, informing Captain Mor- 
gan that they had been unsuccessful, but requested the space of 
fifteen days in order to obtain the required ransom. To this he 
consented, but in a short time a negro was taken with letters froui 
the governor of St. Jago, requiring the prisoners to endeavour to 
gain time from the invaders until he should come to their assist- 

Upon this, Captain Morgan ordered all the spoils to be put on 
board the ships, and informed the Spaniards that, if they did not 
on the following day pay the ransom, he would set fire to the 

The inhabitants replied, that it was utterly impossible for them 
to raise such a sum in so short a time, since the messengers whom 
they had sent were not in the neighbourhood. Morgan knew their 
intention, but deeming it unsafe to remain longer in that place, 
demanded of them four hundred oxen, or cows, together with suffi- 
cient salt to prepare them, with the additional condition, that they 
should put them on board his ships. Under this stipulation he re- 
tired with his men, taking six of the principal inhabitants as hos- 
tages for the performance of the contract. With all possible expe- 
dition the oxen were slain, salted, and put on board, the hostages 
were relieved, and Captain Morgan took leave of that place, and 
directed his course to a certain island, where he intended to divide 
his booty. 

Arrived at that place, he found that he had only fifty thousand 
pieces of eight in money and in goods. This sum being insufficient 
to pay his debts in Jamaica, the Captain proposed to his men that 
they should attempt new exploits before returning home. To se- 
cure success he admonished them to confide implicitly to his direc- 
tion, and he would certainly accomplish the desired object. The 
Frenchmen, however, disagreeing with the English, departed, 
and left Captain Morgan and his countrymen, to the ainoun' of 
four hundred and sixty, to seek their fortune in their owl wuy. 
This rupture did not intimidate the adventurous Captain, but 
labouring to inspire his men with the same spirit, he, with a fleet 
of nine ships, directed his course towards the Continent. 

Meanwhile, he concealed his intentions from every person in the 
fleet, only assuring them that, by following his directions, he would 


certainly enrich them with immense spoil. Arrived upon the coast 
of Costa Rica, he informed them that his intention was to attack 
the town of Puerta Vela by night. He encouraged them to this 
bold enterprise with the assurance of success, saying, that as he 
had communicated his design to none, the inhabitants would be 
taken by surprise. To this some objected, on account of the few- 
ness of their numbers ; but the Captain replied, " if our number 
is small, our hearts are great, and the fewer persons we are, the 
more union, and the better shares of the spoil." Stimulated w.ith 
the hope of great riches, unanimously agreed upon the attack. 

This place was esteemed the strongest that the King of Spain 
possessed in the West Indies, except Havannah and Carthagena. 
There were two castles situated in the entry of the harbour, which 
were deemed almost impregnable. The garrison consisted of three 
hundred men, and the town was inhabited by about four hundred 
families. The place being unhealthy, on account of certain nox- 
ious vapours which descend from the mountains, the merchants 
only resided there when, the galleons came and went from Spain. 

Captain Morgan being thoroughly acquainted with the whole 
coast, and all the approaches to the city, arrived in the dusk, of the 
evening at a place about ten leagues west of the town. He pro- 
ceeded up the river to another harbour called Puerta Pontia, and 
came to anchor. Leaving the vessels with a few men, the rest got 
into the boats and canoes, and about midnight they went on shore, 
and marched to the first watch of the city. An Englishman who 
had been prisoner in that town, was their guide ; and he was com- 
manded, with some others, either to take or slay the sentinel. 
They seized him before he could give the alarm, bound his hands, 
and brought him to Captain Morgan, who asked him, " how mat- 
ters went in the city, and what force they had," with many other 
questions, threatening him with instant death upon his refusing 
to declare the truth. He then advanced towards the city, with 
the sentinel walking before; and when he arrived at the first cas- 
tle, surrounded it with his men. 

In this position, he commanded the sentinel to accost those 
within the walls, and inform them that, if they did not surrender, 
they would all be cut to pieces without the least mercy. But regard* 
less of his threatenings, they instantly began to fire, which gave 
the alarm to the whole city. The pirates, however, took the cas- 
tle; and having shut up the officers and men in one room, they 
blew up the castle with all its inhabitants. Pursuing their victory, 
they attacked the city. The governor not being able to rally, the 


citizens fled to one of the castles, and from thence fired upon the 
pirates. The assault continued from the dawn of the morning 
until noon ; and victory remained in great suspense, until a troop 
of those who had taken the other castle, came to meet their Cap- 
tain with loud shouts of victory. This inspired the Captain with 
new resolution to exert every effort to take this castle also. He 
was the more stimulated to this, as the principal inhabitants, with 
their riches, and all the plate belonging to the different churches 
were deposited in that fort. 

With this view, he caused ten or twelve ladders to be constructed 
with all expedition ; and having brought a number of the religious 
men and women from the cloisters, he commanded them to place 
these upon the walls. The governor of the castle was, however, 
little influenced by the superstition of his countrymen ; he was 
therefore, deaf to all their cries and entreaties to surrender and 
save their lives and his own. That brave commander declared, 
that he would never surrender the castle ; and continuing to fire 
upon the besiegers, many of the holy brothers and sisters were 
slain before the ladders could be fastened on the wall. This, how- 
ever, being at length effected, the pirates ascended in vast numbers, 
carrying in their hands fire-balls and earthern pots full of powder, 
which they kindled at the top of the walls, and threw among the 

Unable any longer to defend the castle, they threw down their 
arms and surrendered. But the brave governor would not submit, 
and not only slew many of the invaders, but even some of his own 
men, because they would not continue to repulse the enemy. Un- 
able to take him prisoner, they were constrained to put him to 
death, for, notwithstanding the lamentation and entreaties of his 
wife and daughter, he remained inflexible, declaring " that he 
would rather die as a valiant soldier, than be hanged as a coward." 
Having taken the castle, they placed all the wounded by themselves, 
leaving them to perish of their wounds, and the men and women 
in separate apartments, with a strong guard upon them, and gave 
themselves up to all manner of debauchery and riotous excess. 
They next proceeded to torture the prisoners, to constrain them 
to inform them where they had deposited their money or their 

Meanwhile, intelligence of their disasters, and of the taking of 
the city, was conveyed to the president of Panama, who immedi- 
ately endeavoured to raise such a force as might expel the pirate*. 
The unhealthiness of the climate, their own debaucheries, and the 


sword, having greatly lessened the number of his men, Caotain 
Morgan gave orders to carry on board all their spoils, and to ^re- 
pare to sail to another port. While these preparations were ad- 
vancing, Captain Morgan requested the inhabitants to pay one 
hundred thousand pieces of eight as the ransom of their city, or 
he would reduce it to ashes. 

In this unhappy dilemma, two messengers were despatched to 
the president of Panama to inform him of their misfortunes, and 
to solicit his assistance. Having an army collected, he marched 
towards Puerta Vela; but Morgan stationing a hundred of his men 
in a narrow pass, through which it was necessary he should come, 
the Spaniards were instantly put to flight, and the president re- 
turned home with the remainder of his forces. Thus abandoned 
to their cruel fate, the wretched inhabitants collected the sum de- 
manded; and Captain Morgan having victualled his fleet, and 
taken several of the best guns from the castle, sailed for the island 
of Cuba to divide his spoils. These he found to amount to two 
hundred and fifty thousand pieces of eight, with a large quantity 
of cloth, linen, silks, and other goods. With this immense wealth 
the pirates sailed for Jamaica, and arriving there, gave loose to 
their usual riot and excess. 

After having lavished the wealth which they had acquired, Mor- 
gan gave orders to his fleet to rendezvous at Cow Island. Rendered 
famous by his recent adventure, many other pirates joined him, 
and he soon saw himself at the head of a more powerful fleet than 
he had ever commanded. The French, however, that joined him, 
distrustful of his fidelity to them, abandoned his flag, and went to 
pursue their own measures. Leaving that place, Captain Morgan 
set sail for the island of Savona, with a fleet of fifteen ships, and 
a full complement of men. He proceeded on his voyage until he 
arrived at the port of Ocoa. Here he landed some of his men, and 
sent them into the woods to seek water and fresh provisions. They 
returned with several beasts which they had slain ; but the Spani- 
ards, dissatisfied with their conduct, laid a snare to entrap them 
in their second attempt to hunt in their territories. 

They ordered three or four hundred men from Santo Domingo 
to hunt in all the adjacent woods, and emptied them of animals. 
The pirates returning in a few days to the hunting, could find 
none, which induced them to venture farther into the woods. 
Watching all their motions, the Spaniards collected a herd of cows, 
and committed the care of them to two or three men. The pirate* 
slew several of them ; but the moment they were about to carry 


them off, the Spaniards fell upon them with desperate fury, and 
constrained them to retreat to their ships; but, during their retreat, 
they frequently fired upon their pursuers, so that they lied in their 
turn, and were pursued into the woods, and many of them slain. 
Enraged at this attack upon his men, Captain Morgan next day 
landed two hundred men, and ranged the woods; but finding no 
enemy, he set fire to the scattered cottages of the peasants, and 
so returned to his ships. ^» 

Having waited with no small degree of impatience, for some of 
his ships that had not arrived, he sailed for the Isle of Savona. 
Arrived at this place, he was still disappointed in not seeing the 
remainder of his fleet join him; and while with great impatience 
waiting for them, he sent some of his men to fetch provisions. 
The Spaniards, however, were now so vigilant, and so well pre- 
pared to defend themselves and their property, that they were con- 
strained to return empty-handed. 

Despairing of the arrival of his other ships, Captain Morgan 
made a review of those who were present, and found them to amount 
to five hundred men, provided with eight ships. With this small 
number he was unable to pursue his original plan, and, by advice 
of a Frenchman who had been at the taking of Maracaibo, he re- 
solved to sack that place a second time. After watering at the 
Island of Ruba, they arrived at the sea of Maracaibo, and, after 
some hot actions, in taking possession of the forts at the entrance, 
arrived at the city in small boats and canoes. The inhabitants 
deserted the city at their approach; and, after having taken what 
property they could find, and exercising unheard-of cruelties and 
tortures upon the prisoners they found in the neighbourhood, Cap- 
tain Morgan resolved to sail for Gibraltar, and run the hazard of a 
battle. Some of the principal prisoners he took with him, and 
sent others to Gibraltar, to tell the inhabitants of the barbarous 
cruelty they had seen exercised towards their townsmen, and to 
assure them that, unless they surrendered to Morgan, they would 
share the same fate. Notwithstanding a show of resistance at first, 
every person in the city, with the exception of an idiot, lied when 
the pirates approached, taking with them their riches and gun- 
powder, and destroying the guns of the fortress. 

This solitary individual who had remained in the city, notwith- 
standing it was evident to Morgan and his associates that he was 
an idiot, they tortured with unparralled cruelty, to force him to 
discover to them the retreat of the inhabitants, of which he knew 
nothing, yet he died under their ferocious hands. Detachments 


were sent to scour the country round in search of the fugitives, 
whom, when they found, they treated with the most barbarous 
inhumanity. One of these detachments was headed by Morgan 
himself, who directed his search against the governor, but the latter 
retired to a high mountain, and completely foiled Morgan and his 
army. The heavy rains and want of ammunition had reduced the 
pirates to great distress; and if the Spaniards had not been so 
dismayed, they would at this time have found their invaders an 
easy prey. 

Morgan returned to Gibraltar with a great many prisoners, who 
negociated a ransom to save the city from being burnt. He then 
proceeded to Maracaibo, where he was informed that a Spanish 
iieet, consisting of several large vessels, lay at the entrance of the 
strait to prevent his escape, which struck his men and himself with 
great consternation. He assumed a fictitious courage, and sent a 
letter to the admiral, demanding a very high ransom to prevent the 
town of Maracaibo from being committed to the flames. This, how- 
ever, met with no gracious reception, and the Spanish admiral 
would listen to nothing but the surrender of all the prisoners, host- 
ages, and property. In this dilemma, Morgan assembled his men, 
and asked them whether they would give up what they had acquired 
with such toil and danger, or fight their way through the enemy ? 
To the latter proposition they unanimously agreed. 

Despair sharpened their invention and their courage. They set 
about immediately to prepare a fire-ship, with which they intended 
to destroy the Spanish admiral's ship, and considerably strength- 
ened their other vessels. Captain Morgau sailed with his fleet, and 
attacked the enemy early in the morning; the fire-ship grappled 
with the largest vessel, and soon destroyed her; the other two fled 
towards the castle at the entrance, where one of them was sunk by 
her own crew, and the other surrendered to the pirates. Elated 
with this signal victory, the pirates immediately landed, hoping to 
find the castle surrender at their appearance. In this they were, 
however, disappointed, for they met with a most spirited resistance, 
and were at last obliged to fly to their ships. 

The Spanish admiral escaped on shore, and was greatly dismay- 
ed to see so many of his brave countrymen perish in the waves 
rather than permit themselves to be taken prisoners by the pirates. 

Morgan again sailed for Maracaibo, where he repaired the large 
ship he had taken, on board of which he hoisted his own flag. He 
again sent to the Spanish admiral demanding a ransom for the city 
of Maracaibo, to which that brave officer would not listen, but 


threatened vengeance on the pirates. The inhabitants, however, 
offered the sum of 20,000 pieces of eight, besides 500 beeves to vic- 
tual his fleet, if he would spare the town, and free the Spaniards 
he had made prisoners. To this last clause, however, he would 
not agree ; he feared the Spanish admiral might destroy his fleet 
with the guns of the castle, in passing through the strait; and for 
this purpose he wished to retain the prisoners, to hold out a bribe 
to the admiral. He sent some of them to the castle, to infowaa the 
governor that, unless they were permitted to pass the castle unmo- 
lested, he would hang every prisoner in his power. The admiral 
would not listen to the supplications of these unfortunate prisoners, 
but accused them of cowardice, and returned for answer, that he 
would oppose the passage of the pirates by every means in his 

This resolution made Morgan pause for a while, before he decid- 
ed what was to be done. In the first place, he divided their plun- 
der, which amounted to 250,000 pieces of eight, besides an immense 
quantity of merchandize and slaves, Morgan harangued his men, 
and took counsel what steps they were to follow, in order to get 
clear of the castle. A stratagem was at length agreed upon, in 
which they succeeded : during the day-time they sent on shore their 
boats laden with men, as if they intended to attack the castle by 
land. The canoes were hid from the castle for some time by the 
trees on the banks, but in a short time returned, with the appear- 
ance of only two or three men in them, to deceive the enemy, 
while they were all lying in the bottom of the boats. The Spaniards 
expected the forces that had been landed would attack the castle 
at night ; they removed all their heavy guns to the laud side, and 
left that which commanded the sea without any, by which the pirates 
passed unmolested during the night. 

When the Spaniards perceived that Morgan was about to escape, 
they transported their guns to the other side of the castle, and com- 
menced a dreadful fire upon the pirates; who, however, effected 
their escape without much loss or damage. Captain Morgan now 
sent a canoe to the castle, with some of the prisoners, and fired 
seven great guns as a farewell salute. 

In this voyage the pirates were suddenly overtaken by a great 
tempest; were constrained to cast anchor, and again to put to sea; 
and were alternately harrassed with the dread of being overwhelmed 
in the deep, or cast upon shore and murdered by the Spaniards or 
Indians. Fortunately, however, for Morgan and his crew, tfc* 
tempest was calmed, and they arrived safe at Jamaica. 



Not long after their arrival here, their excesses emptied their 
coffers, and constrained them to seek for new spoils. Having col- 
lected his men at Port Caullion, he held a council to deliberate 
upon their next adventure. Meanwhile, it was found necessary to 
send four ships and one boat, with four hundred men, to the conti- 
nent, to pillage some coast town for provisions, and to search the 
woods for wild beasts. These vessels were for some days becalmed 
in the mouth of the river Cow, which informed the Spaniards of 
their arrival, and gave them time to hide their money and goods, 
and to prepare for their own defence. Here they seized a ship 
richly laden, and landed in defiance of all the resistance of the 
Spaniards, whom they pursued into the woods, and, by torture, 
constrained many of them to deliver up their money and property. 
Dissatisfied with all that they had received, they, upon their de- 
parture, exacted a ransom of four thousand bushels of maize as a 
ransom for the town. 

The return of these ships, and their great success, was cause of 
exultation to Morgan and his men. Having equally divided the 
maize and the flesh, they directed their course towards Cape Tibu- 
"oon; the fleet consisting of thirty-seven sail, with two thou- 
sand men, besides marines and boys. The captain divided his 
fleet into two squadrons, and gave the command of the second squad- 
ron to a vice-admiral. He then summoned a council of all his cap- 
tains, and, besides other directions, enjoined them to carry on hos- 
tilities with the Spaniards, as the enemies of the English nation. 

From Cape Tiburoon, Morgan sailed for St. Catherine's, then 
in the possession of the Spaniards, landed a thousand men, and 
advanced to the governor's residence; but he found that the gar- 
rison had retired to the adjacent small island, and had fortified 
themselves in the strongest manner. Upon their approach, they 
received such a warm reception, that they were under the necessity 
of lying all night upon the ground, destitute of every kind of pro- 
visions ; but a flag of truce being hoisted, a capitulation took place, 
and it was finally agreed to surrender the island to Morgan and his 
crew. Having become masters of the island, they hastened to sati- 
ate their hungry appetites, and to indulge in all manner of riot and 
excess. After some time, they pillaged the storehouses of powder 
and other stores, carried on board the principal guns, destroyed 
the remainder, and directed their attack upon the ca» r e of Chagre. 

This castle is situated at the entrance of the river upon a high 
mountain, and surrounded with wooden palisades. On the land 
sides it has four bastions, and is whollv inaccessible by sea. Vn* 


intimidated by these obstacles, the pirates made an attack, but 
were repulsed with some loss. In the action one of the pirates was 
wounded with an arrow, which he instantly pulled out, wrapped it 
with cotton, and discharged it from his musket. The arrow fell 
upon a house thatched with palm-leaves, and the cotton being 
kindled by the powder set the house on fire, which communicated 
to a large quantity of powder, that blew up and caused a dreadful 
consternation. While the Spaniards were labouring to extinguish 
the flames, the pirates set fire to the palisades ; and in a short time 
entered the place. The governor was slain, and the greater part 
of his men chose rather to leap into the sea, than await the tortures 
of the inhuman pirates. 

Upon the intelligence of this fortunate adventure, Morgan left 
St. Catherine's, and hastened to that place, where he was received 
with every demonstration of joy. Having garrisoned the place, 
and seized all the vessels, he directed his course towards Panama, 
at the head of twelve hundred men. But, too confident of the 
smiles of fortune, he took a small stock of provisions with him. 
In their march they suffered much from famine, but in the space of 
nine days he beheld Panama. 

On the morning of the tenth day, Captain Morgan arranged his 
men, but, by the advice of one of his guides, did not take the 
direct road to the city, and therefore escaped some of the ambus- 
cades that were laid for him. The governor of Panama came out 
to meet with two squadrons, four regiments, and a number of wild 
bulls driven by the Indians. Upon the approach of the Spaniards, 
their number and hostile appearance almost intimidated the unequal 
numbers of the pirates, but, despairing of all mercy from the hands 
of those whom they had so often offended, they resolved to give 
them battle. They were first attacked by a party of horse, but 
routing them, the foot soon followed their example, and victory 
declared upon the side of the pirates. The greater part were either 
slain or taken prisoners. A Spanish captain was also taken pri- 
soner, who informed Morgan concerning the strength and position 
of the town, which inclined him to attack it in another direction. 

Morgan and his men were bravely repulsed, and suffered much 
from the great guns placed at all points; but in defiance of every 
opposition and danger, the pirates in three hours carried the town. 
Thus victorious, they slew all who came in their way, and seized 
upon the property of the place. To prevent his men from intoxica- 
tion, that the Spaniards might not have an opportunity to fall upon 
them, Morgan assembled his men, aud prohibited them from test- 


ing the wine, assigning as his reason, that the Spaniards baa 
mingled it with poison. 

The captain gave secret orders to set fire to the city in different 
places. His own men being dissatisfied with this measure, he en- 
deavoured to throw the odium upon the Spaniards themselves. 
After doing incredible harm, the pirates retired from the town and 
encamped in the fields. They, however, upon finding themselves 
safe from a second attack, returned to the city, and conveyed away 
a large quantity of plate and other valuable articles which the fire 
had not consumed. 

While Morgan continued at Panama, he sent out parties in all 
directions, who so pillaged the country, that he departed from that 
place loaded with immense plunder, both in money and in goods. 
About half way to Chagre they were all searched, beginning with 
the captain himselfj to find whether they had concealed any part 
of the booty. Several of the company, however, boldly accused 
the captain of concealing some of the more valuable jewels, as it 
was impossible that no more than 200 pieces of eight should fall to 
the share of each man from such an immense spoil. 

The captain, finding his authority lessened, endeavoured to es- 
cape to St. Catherine's with two or three ships, but the arrival of 
a new governor in Jamaica, put a period to the depredations of 
Morgan and many of his associates. 


Was a native of Devonshire, and at an early period sent to sea; 
advanced to the station of a mate in a merchantman, he performed 
several voyages. It happened, previous to the peace of Ryswick, 
when there existed an alliance between Spain, England, Holland, 
and other powers, against France, that the French in Martinique 
carried on a smuggling trade with the Spaniards on the continent 
of Peru. To prevent their intrusion into the Spanish dominions, 
a few vessels were commanded to cruise upon that coast, but the 
French ships were too strong for them; the Spaniards, therefore, 
came to the resolution of hiring foreigners to act against them. 
Accordingly, certain merchants of Bristol fitted out two ships of 
birty guns, well manned, and provided with every necessary 


ammunition, and commanded them to sail for Corunna to receive 
their orders. 

Captain Gibson commanded one of these ships, and Avery ap 
pears to have been his mate, in the year 1715. He was a fellow 
of more cunning than courage, and insinuating himself into the 
confidence of some of the boldest men in the ship, he represented 
the immense riches which were to be acquired upon the Spanish 
coast, and proposed to run off with the ship. The proposal was 
scarcely made when it was agreed upon, and put in execution at 
ten o'clock the following evening. Captain Gibson was one of 
those who mightily love their bottle, and spent much of his time 
on shore; but he remained on board that night, which did not, 
however, frustrate their design, because he had taken his usual dose, 
and so went to bed. The men who were not in the confederacy went 
also to bed, leaving none upon deck but the conspirators. At the 
time agreed upon, the long-boat of the other ship, came, and Avery 
hailing her in the usual manner, he was answered by the men in 
her, " Is your drunken boatswain on board ?" which was the 
watchword agreed between them. Avery replying in the affirma- 
tive, the boat came alongside with sixteen stout fellows, who joined 
in the adventure. They next secured the hatches, then softly 
weighed anchor, and immediately put to sea without bustle or noise. 
There were several vessels in the bay, besides a Dutchman of forty 
guns, the captain of which was offered a considerable reward to 
go in pursuit of Avery, but he declined. When the captain awoke, 
he rang his bell, and Avery and another conspirator going into 
the cabin, found him yet half asleep. He inquired, saying, " What 
is the matter with the ship ? does she drive ? what weather is it?" 
supposing it had been a storm, and that the ship was driven from 
her anchors. " No, no," answered Avery, " we're at sea, with a 
fair wind and good weather." " At sea !" said the captain : " how 
can that be?" " Come," answered Avery, " don't be in a fright, 
but put on your clothes, and I'll let you into a secret. You must 
know that I am captain of this ship now, and this is my cabin, 
therefore you must walk out! I am bound to Madagascar, with a 
design of making my own fortune, and that of all the brave fellows 
joined with me." 

The captain, having a little recovered his senses, began to un- 
derstand his meaning. However, his fright was as great as befoie, 
which Avery perceiving, desired him to fear nothing; "for," said 
he, " if you have a mind to make one of us, we will receive you; 
%od if you turn sober, and attend to business, perhaps in time i 

Page 303. 


may make jou one of my lieutenants; if not, here's a boat, and 
you shall be set on shore." Gibson accepted of the last proposal; 
and the whole crew being called up to know who was willing to go 
on shore with the captain, there were only about five or six who 
chose to accompany him. 

Avery proceeded on his voyage to Madagascar, and it does not 
appear that he captured any vessels upon his way. When arrived 
at the north-east part of that island, he found two sloops at anchor, 
which, upon seeing him, slipped their cables, and ran themselves 
ashore, while the men all landed, and concealed themselves in the 
woods. These were two sloops which the men had run off with 
from the East Indies, and seeing Avery's ship, supposed that he 
had been sent out after them. Suspecting who they were, he sent 
some of his men on shore to inform them that they were friends, 
and to propose a union for their common safety. The sloops' men 
being well armed, had posted themselves in a wood, and placed 
sentinels to observe whether the ship landed its men to pursue 
them. The sentinels only observing two or three men coming 
towards them unarmed, did not oppose them. Upon being informed 
that they were friends, the sentinels conveyed them to the main 
body, where they delivered their message. They were at first afraid 
that it was a stratagem to entrap them, but when the messengers 
assured them that their captain had also run away with his ship, 
and that a few of their men along with him would meet them un- 
armed, to consult matters for their common advantage, confidence 
was established, and they were mutually well pleased, as it added 
to their strength. 

Having consulted what was most proper to be attempted, they 
endeavoured to get off the sloops, and hastened to prepare all 
things, in order to sail for the Arabian coast. Near the river In- 
dus, the man at the mast-head espied a sail, upon which they 
gave chase ; as they came nearer to her, they discovered that she 
was a tall vessel, and might turn out to be an East Indiaman. 
She, however, proved a better prize ; for when they fired at her 
she hoisted Mogul colours, and seemed to stand upon her defence. 
Avery only cnanonaded at a distance, when some of his men betran 
to suspect that he was not the hero they had supposed. The 
sloops, however, attacked the one on the bow, and another upon 
the quarter of the ship, and so boarded her. She then struck her 
colours. She was one of the Great Mogul's own ships, and there 
were in her several of the greatest persons in his court, among 
whom, it was said, was one of his daughters going upon a pilgri- 


mage to Mecca; ana they were carrying with them rich offerings 
to present at the shrine of Mahomet. It is a well known fact, 
that the people of the east travel with great magnificence, so that 
these had along with them all their slaves and attendants, with a 
large quantity of vessels of gold and silver, and immense sums of 
money to defray their expenses by land; the spoil therefore which 
they received from that ship was almost incalculable. 

Taking the treasure on board their own ships, and plundering 
their prize of every thing valuable, they then allowed her to depart. 
As soon as the Mogul received this intelligence, he threateneu 
to send a mighty army to extirpate the English from all their set- 
tlements upon the Indian coast. The East India Company were 
greatly alarmed, but found means to calm his resentment, by pro- 
mising to search for the robbers, and deliver them into his hands. 
The noise which this made over Europe, gave birth to the rumours 
that were circulated concerning Avery's greatness. 

In the mean time, our adventurers made the best of their way 
back to Madagascar, intending to make that place the deposit for 
all their treasure, to build a small fort, and to keep always a few 
men there for its protection. Avery, however, disconcerted this 
plan, and rendered it altogether unnecessary. 

While steering their course, Avery sent a boat to each of the 
sloops, requesting that the chiefs would come on board his ship to 
hold a conference. They obeyed, and being assembled, he sug- 
gested to them the necessity of securing the property which they 
had acquired in some safe place on shore, and observed, that the 
chief difHculty was to get it safe on shore; adding that, if either 
of the sloops should be attacked alone, they would not be able to 
make any great resistance, and thus she must either be sunk or 
taken with all the property on board. That, for his part, his ship 
was so strong, so well manned, and such swift-sailing vessel, that 
he did not think it was possible for any other ship to take or over- 
come her. Accordingly, he proposed that all their treasure should 
be sealed up in three chests; — that each of the captains should have 
keys, and that they should not be opened until all were present; — 
that the chests should be then put on board his ship, and afterwards 
lodged in some safe place upon land. 

This proposal seemed so reasonable, and so much for the common 
good, that it was without hesitation agreed to, and all the treasure 
deposited in three chests, and carried to Avery's ship. The wea- 
ther being favourable, they remained all three in company during 
that and the next day; meanwhile Avery, tampering with his men, 


suggested, that they had now on board what was sufficient to make 
them all happy; " and what," added he, " should hinder us from 
going to some country where we are not known, and living on 
shore all the rest of our days in plenty?" They soon understood 
his hint, and all readily consented to deceive the men of the sloops, 
and fly with all the booty ; this they effected during the darkness of 
the following night. The reader may easily conjecture what were 
the feelings and indignation of the other two crews in the morning, 
when they discovered that Avery had made off with all their pro- 

Avery and his men hastened towards America, and being stran- 
gers in that country, agreed to divide the booty, to change their 
names, and each separately to take up his residence, and live in 
affluence and honour. The first land they approached was the 
Island of Providence, then newly settled. It however occurred to 
them, that the largeness of their vessel, and the report that one 
had been run off with from the Groine, might create suspicion ; 
they resolved therefore to dispose of their vessel at Providence. 
Upon this resolution, Avery, pretending that his vessel had been 
equipped for privateering, and having been unsuccessful, he had 
orders from the owners to dispose of her to the best advantage, soon 
found a merchant. Having thus sold his own ship, he immediately 
purchased a small sloop. 

In this he and his companions embarked, and landed at several 
places in America, where, none suspecting them, they dispersed 
and settled in the country. Avery, however, had concealed 
the greater part of the jewels and other valuable articles, so that 
his riches were immense. Arriving at Boston, he was almost re- 
solved to settle there, but, as the greater part of his wealth consisted 
of diamonds, he was apprehensive that he could not dispose of them 
at that place, without being taken up as a pirate. Upon reflection, 
therefore, he resolved to sail for Ireland, and in a short time arrived 
1U the northern part of that kingdom, and his men dispersed into 
several places. Some of them obtained the pardon of King Wil- 
liam, and settled in that country. 

The wealth of Avery, however, now proved of small service, 
and occasioned him great uneasiness. He could not offer his dia- 
monds for sale in that country without being suspected. Consider- 
ing, therefore, what was best to be done, he thought there might 
be some person at Bristol he could venture to trust. Upon this he 
resolved, and going into Devonshire, sent to one of his friends to 
meet him at a town called Bideford. When he had unbosomed 


himself to him and other pretended friends, they agreed that 
the safest plan would be to put his effects into the hands of some 
wealthy merchants, and no enquiry would be made how they came 
by them. One of these friends told him, he was acquainted with 
some who were very fit for the purpose, and if he would allow them 
a handsome commission, they would do the business faithfully. 
Avery liked the proposal, particularly as he could think of ni> 
other way of managing this matter, since he could not appear to 
act for himself. Accordingly, the merchants paid Avery a visit 
at Bideford, where, after strong protestations of honour and in- 
tegrity, he delivered them his effects, consisting of diamonds and 
some vessels of gold. After giving him a little money for his pre- 
sent subsistence, they departed. 

He changed his name, and lived quietly at Bideford, so that no 
notice was taken of him. In a short time his money was all spent, 
and he heard nothing from his merchants, though he wrote to them 
repeatedly; at last they sent him a small supply, but it was not 
sufficient to pay his debts. In short, the remittances they sent 
him were so trifling, that he could with difficulty exist. He there- 
fore determined to go privately to Bristol, and have an interview 
with the merchants himself, — where, instead of money, he met 
with a mortifying repulse; for, when he desired them to come to 
an account with him, they silenced him by threatening to disclose 
his character; the merchants thus proving themselves as go*d 
pirates on land as he was at sea. 

Whether he was frightened by these menaces, or had seen some 
other person who recognised him, is not known; however he went 
immediately to Ireland, and from thence solicited his merchants 
very strongly for a supply, but to no purpose ; so that he was reduc- 
ed to beggary. In this extremity he was determined to return, and 
cast himself upon the mercy of these honest Bristol merchants, let 
the consequence be what it would. He went on board a trading- 
vessel, and worked his passage over to Plymouth, from whence he 
travelled on foot to Bideford. He had been there but a few days, 
when he fell sick and died; not being worth so much as would buy 
h n a coffin. 

We shall now turn back and give our readers some account of 
the other two sloops. Deceiving themselves in the supposition that 
Avery had outsailed them during the night, they held on their 
course to the place of rendezvous; but, arriving there, to their sad 
disappointment no ship appeared. It was now necessary for them 
to consult what was most proper to do in their desperate circum* 


stances. Their provisions were nearly exhausted, and both fish 
and fowl were to be found on shore, yet they were destitute of salt 
to cure them As they could not subsist at sea without salt provi- 
sions, they resolved to form an establishment upon land. Accord- 
ingly, making tents of the sails, and using the other materials of 
the sloops for what purposes they could serve, they encamped upon 
the shore. It was also a fortunate circumstance, that they had 
plenty of ammunition and small arms. Here they met with some 
of their countrymen ; and as the digression is short, we will inform 
our readers how they came to inhabit this place. 

Captain George Dew, and Thomas Tew, had received a commis- 
sion from the governor of Bermuda to sail for the river Gambia, in 
Africa, that with the assistance of the Royal African Company, 
they might seize the French Factory situated upon that coast. Dew 
in a violent storm, not only sprang a mast, but lost sight of his 
companion. Upon this he returned to refit. Instead of proceeding 
in his voyage, Tew made towards the Cape of Good Hope, doubled 
that cape, and sailed for the straits of Babel-Mandel. There he 
met with a large ship richly laden coming from the Indies, and 
bound for Arabia. Though she had on board three hundred sol- 
diers, besides seamen, yet Tew had the courage to attack her, and 
soon made her his prize. It is reported, that by this one prize every 
man shared near three thousand pounds. Informed by the prisoners 
that five other ships were to pass that way, Tew would have attack- 
ed them, but was prevented by the remonstrances of his quarter- 
master and others. This difference of opinion terminated in a 
resolution to abandon the sea, and to settle on some convenient 
spot on shore ; and the island of Madagascar was chosen. Tew, 
however, and a few others, in a short time went for Rhode Island, 
and obtained a pardon. 

The natives of Madagascar are negroes, but differ from those of 
Guinea in the length of their hair and in the blackness of their 
complexion. They are divided into small nations, each governed 
by its own prince, who carry on a continual war upon each other. 
The prisoners taken in war are either rendered slaves to the con- 
querors, sold, or slain, according to pleasure. When the pirates 
first settled among them, their alliance was much courted by these 
princes, and those whom they joined were always successful in 
their wars, the natives being ignorant of the use of fire-arms. Such 
terror did they carry along with them, that the very appearance 
of a few pirates in an army would have put the opposing force to 


By these means they in a little time became very formidable, and 
the prisoners whom they took in war they employed in cultivating 
the ground, and the most beautiful of the women they married; 
nor were they contented with one, but married as many as they 
could conveniently maintain. The natural result was, that they 
separated, each choosing a convenient place for himself, where he 
lived in a princely style, surrounded by his wives, slaves, and de- 
pendants. Nor was it long before jarring interests excited the*© 
also to draw the sword against each other, and they appeared at the 
head of their respective forces in the field of battle. In these civil 
wars their number and strength were greatly lessened. 

The servant, exalted to the condition of a master, generally be- 
comes a tyrant. The pirates, unexpectedly elevated to the dignity 
of petty princes, used their power with the most wanton barbarity. 
The punishment of the very least offence was to be tied to a tree, 
and instantly shot through the head. The negroes, at length, ex- 
asperated by continued oppression, formed the determination of 
extirpating them in one night; nor was it a difficult matter to ac- 
complish this, since they were now so much divided both in auc- 
tion and residence. Fortunately, however, for them, a negro 
woman, who was partial to them, ran twenty miles in three hours, 
and warning them of their danger, they were united and in arms 
to oppose the negroes before the latter had assembled. This narrow 
escape made them more cautious, and induced them to adopt the 
following system of policy : — 

Convinced that fear was not a sufficient protection, and that the 
bravest man might be murdered by a coward in his bed, they la- 
boured to foment wars among the negro princes, while they them- 
selves declined to aid either party. It naturally followed, that 
those who were vanquished fled to them for protection, and increased 
their strengtn. Where there was no war, they fomented private 
discords, and encouraged them to wreak their vengeance against 
each other; nay, even taught them how to surprise their opponents, 
and furnisned them with fire-arms, with which to dispatch them 
more effectually and expeditiously. The consequences were, that 
the murderer was constrained to fly to them for protection, with his 
wives, children, and kindred. These, from interest, became true 
friends, as their own safety depended upon the lives of the pro- 
tectors. By this time the pirates were so formidable, that none of 
Lhe negro princes durst attack them in open war. 

Pursuing this system of policy, in a short time each chief had 
his party greatly increased, and they divided like so many tribes, 


in order to find ground to cultivate, and to choose proper places 
to build places of residence and erect garrisons of defence. The 
rears that agitated them were always obvious in their general poli- 
cy for they vied with each other in constructing places of safety, 
and using every precaution to prevent the possibility of sudden 
danger, either from the negroes or from one another. 

A description of one of these dwellings will both show the fears 
that agitated these tyrants, and prove entertaining to the reader. 
They selected a spot overgrown with wood, near a river, and rais- 
ed a rampart with a ditch round it, so straight and steep that it was 
impossible to climb it/ more particularly by those who had no 
scaling-ladders. Over that ditch there was one passage into the 
wood; the dwelling, which was a hut, was built in that part of the 
wood which the prince thought most secure, but so covered that it 
could not be discovered until you came near it. But the greatest 
ingenuity was displayed in the construction of the passage that led 
to the hut, which was so narrow, that no more than one person 
could go abreast, and it was so contrived in so intricate a manner, 
that it was a perfect labyrinth ; the way going round and round, 
with several small cross-ways, so that a person unacquainted with 
it, might walk several hours without finding the hut. Along the 
sides of these paths, certain large thorns, which grew on a tree in 
that country, were stuck into the ground with their points outwards ; 
and the path itself being serpentine, as before mentioned, if a 
man should attempt to approach the hut at night, he would cer- 
tainly have struck upon these thorns. 

Thus like tyrants they lived, dreading, and dreaded by all, and 
in this state they were found by Captain Woods Rodgers, when he 
went to Madagascar in the Delicia, a ship of forty guns, with the 
design of purchasing slaves. He touched upon a part of the island 
at which no ship had been seen for seven or eight years before, 
where he met with some pirates who had been upon the island 
above twenty-five years. There were only eleven of the original 
stock then alive, surrounded with a numerous offspring of children 
and grandchildren. 

They were struck with terror upon the sight of the vessel, sup- 
posing that it was a man-of-war sent out to apprehend them; they, 
therefore, retired to their secret habitations. But when they found 
some of the ship's crew on shore, without any signs of hostility, 
and proposing to treat with them for their slaves, they ventured to 
come out of their dwellings attended like princes. Having been 
80 tongupon the island, their cloaks were so much worn, that their 


majesties were extremely out at elbows. It cannot be said that they 
were ragged, but they had nothing to cover them but the skins of 
brasts in their natural state, not even a shoe or stocking ; so that 
they resembled the pictures of Hercules in the lion's skin; and 
being overgrown with beard, and hair upon their bodies, they ap- 
peared the most savage figures that the human imagination could 
well conceive. 

The sale of the slaves in their possession soon provided them 
with more suitable clothes, and all other necessaries, which they 
received in exchange. Meanwhile, they became very familiar, 
went frequently on board, and were very eager in examining the 
inside of the ship, talking very familiarly with the men, and invit- 
ing them on shore. Their design was to surprise the ship during 
the night. They had a sufficient number of men and boats to 
effect their purpose, but the captain suspecting them, kept so 
strong a watch on deck, that they found it in vain to hazard an 
attempt. When some of the men went on shore, they entered into 
a plan to seize the ship, but the captain observing their familiarity, 
prevented any one of his men from speaking to the pirates, and 
only permitted a confidential person to purchase their slaves. Thus 
he departed from the island, leaving these pirates to enjoy their 
savage royalty. One of them had been a waterman upon the 
Thames, and having committed a murder, he fled to the West In- 
dies. The rest having been all foremast-men, nor was there one 
among them who could either read or write- 


War is not the harvest season of pirates. Those who are natu- 
rally of a rambling turn of mind, then find employment in priva- 
teering. Provincial mobs are most frequent in time of peace; 
and those turbulent spirits which give energy to tumult, prove 
brave and useful soldiers when disciplined and introduced into the 
ranks. In the same manner, pirates under the influence of royal 
clemency, would prove brave «nd hardy seamen. 

The origin and first adventures of the man upon whose history 
we are now to enter, are involved in obscurity. He was com- 
mander ot a private sloop of eight guns and eighty men, upon the 
coast of Jamaica, where he took + he Berkeley gnlley, Captain 

Page 314. 


Sanders, and plundered him of a thousand pounds ; and afterwards 
he took some money and provisions from a sloop called King Solo, 
mon. He proceeded after this to the port of Cavena in the island 
of Cuba, and in his way captured two sloops, which he plundered 
and then dismissed. Near the port, he met a fine galley of twenty 
guns, commanded by Captain Wilson, which was attacked under 
the black flag, and forced to surrender. Some of the men were 
put on shore, and others detained. Captain Martel then desired 
Captain Wilson to inform the owners, that his sloop would admi- 
rably answer his purpose, by removing one deck: and as for the 
cargo, which consisted chiefly of logwood and sugar, he would take 
care it should be carried to a good market. 

This ship being equipped, he mounted her with twenty-two guns 
and a hundred men, leaving twenty-five hands in the sloop, and 
vent to cruise off the Leeward Islands. Here fortune was propi- 
tious to the pirates. After taking two small vessels, they gave 
chase to a stout ship, which, upon the sight of the black flag, sud- 
denly struck. This was the Dolphin of twenty guns, bound for 
Newfoundland. The men were made prisoners, and the ship was 
taken along with our pirates. They seized another vessel on her 
voyage from Jamaica, put her provisions on board their own ship, 
and so let her depart. Thus she was obliged to return to Jamaica 
before she could prosecute her voyage. These fortunate pirates, 
not long after, captured a small ship and a sloop belonging to 
Barbadoes, and having taken out the provisions, and such of the 
men as chose to go along with them, allowed them to depart. Their 
next prize was the Greyhound galley of London, from Guinea to 
Jamaica, which they speedily emptied of her valuable cargo, and 
then permitted to prosecute her voyage. 

It was necessary to repair to some harbour, to refit, to obtain 
provisions, and to dispose of their cargo. Santa Cruz was deemed 
the most proper place for this purpose, which is ten miles long and 
two broad, lying south-east by Porto Rico, and belonging to the 
French settlements. Here they hoped to repose for a while in 
order to prepare themselves for greater adventures. Nor did fortune 
forsake these daring adventurers, for on their voyage they captured 
another vessel, and speedily arrived at the place of their destina- 
tion. They had now a ship of 20 guns, a sloop of eight, and three 
prizes. This little fleet they stationed in a small harbour or road 
upon the north-west of the island. 

Their first employment on their arrival was to fortify themselves 
against any attack. They erected a battery of four guns upon ths 


isianJ, and another of two guns upon the north point of the road. 
They also stationed one of the sloops, with eight guns, at the mouth 
of the channel, to prevent any vessel from entering. Having 
thus fortified themselves, they began to unrig their vessels, in 
order to clean them. 

General Hamilton sent a sloop with an express to Captain Hume 
to acquaint him that two pirate ships infested the coast. The Scar- 
borough of 30 guns and 140 men, commanded by Captain Hume, 
had then near 40 of his crew sick, and had buried 20, and was 
therefore in a bad condition for sea; but having received this intel- 
ligence, he left his sick men behind, sailed to the other islands for 
a supply of hands, and went in search of the pirates. After several 
disappointments, and about to return, despairing to meet with these 
marauders,, he was informed by a boat which had come from Santa 
Cruz, that two pirate ships, with some others, were in that place. 
On Captain Hume's arrival there, the pilot refused to enter the 
harbour. They were welcomed by the pirates saluting them with 
red-hot balls from the shore. At length, Captain Hume came to 
anchor alongside the reef, and cannonaded both the vessels and 
batteries during several hours. The sloop which guarded the 
channel was at length sunk, and the man-of-war then directed her 
fire against the iarge pirate ships. In the following night it calm- 
ed, and Captain Hume, fearing that he might fall upon the reef, 
weighed anchor, and hovered in the neighbourhood for a few days 
to block them up. One evening the pirates observed the man-of- 
war set out for sea, and they took the opportunity to warp out in 
order to evade the enemy. They soon ran aground, and in this 
situation saw Captain Hume returning to pay them another visit, 
which threw them into such dreadful consternation, that they quitt- 
ed the ship, leaving in it twenty negroes, who all perished. Nino- 
teen of the pirates escaped in a long-boat, while the captain and 
the rest of the crew fled into the woods, and there, in all probability, 
terminated their existence. 



Edward TeACH was a native of Bristol, and hating gone to 
Jamaica, frequently sailed from that port as one oi' the new of a 
privateer auring the French war. In that station he gave frequent 


proofs of his boldness and personal courage; but he was not en- 
trusted with any command until Captain Benjamin Hornigold 
gave him the command uf a prize which he had taken. 

In the spring of 1717, Hornigold and Teach sailed from Provi- 
dence for the continent of America, and in their way captured a 
small vessel with 120 barrels of flour, which they put on board 
their own vessels. They also seized two other vessels ; from one 
they took some gallons of wine, and from the other, plunder to a 
considerable value. After cleaning upon the coast of Virginia, 
they made a prize of a large French Guineaman bound to Martin- 
ique, and Teach obtaining the command of her, went upon a cruise. 
Hornigold, with the two vessels, returned to the island of Provi- 
dence, and surrendered to the king's clemency. 

Teach now began to act an independent part. He mounted his 
vessel with forty guns, and named her " The Queen Amies 
Revenge." Cruising near the island of St. Vincent he took a large 
ship, called the Great Allan, and. after having plundered her of 
what he deemed proper, set her on fire. A few days after, Teach 
encountered the Scarborough man-of-war, and engaged her for 
some hours; but perceiving his strength and resolution, she retired, 
and left Teach to pursue his depredations. His next adventure 
was with a sloop of ten guns, commanded by Major Bonnet, whose 
actions we have already related, and these two having united their 
fortunes, co-operated for some time : but Teach finding him unac- 
quainted with naval affairs, gave the command of Bonnet's ship 
to Richards, one of his own crew, and entertained Bonnet on 
board his own vessel. Watering at Turniff, they discovered a sail, 
and Richards with the Revenge slipped her cable, and ran out to 
meet her. Upon seeing the black flag hoisted, the vessel struck, 
and came-to under the stern of Teach the commodore. This was 
the Adventure from Jamaica. They took the captain and his men 
on board the great ship, and manned his sloop for their own service. 

Weighing from Turniff where they remained during a week, 
and sailing to the bay, they found there a ship and four sloops. 
Teach hoisted his flag, and began to fire at them, upon which 
Teach the captain and his men left their ship and fled to the shore, 
burned two of these sloops, and let the other three depart. 

They afterwards sailed to different places, and having taken two 
small vessels, anchored off the bar of Charlestown for a few days. 
Here they captured a ship bound for England, as she was coming 
out of the harbour. They next seized a vessel coming out of 
Charlestown, and two pinks coming into the same harbour, together 


with a brigantine with fourteen negroes. The audacity of these 
transactions, performed in sight of the town, struck the inhabitants 
with terror, as they had been lately visited by some other notorious 
pirates. Meanwhile, there were eight sail in the harbour, none 
of which durst set to sea for fear of falling into the hands of Teach. 
The trade of this place was totally interrupted, and the inhabitants 
were abandoned to despair. Their calamity was greatly augmented 
from this circumstance, that a long and desperate war with.the 
natives had just terminated, when they began to be infested by 
these robbers. 

Teach having detained all the persons taken in these ships as 
prisoners, they were soon in great want of medicines, and he had 
the audacity to demand a chest from the governor. This demand 
was made in a manner not less daring than insolent. Teach sent 
Richards, the captain of the Revenge, with Mr. Marks, one of 
the prisoners, and several others, to present their request. Richards 
informed the governor, that unless their demand was granted, and 
he and his companions returned in safety, every prisoner on board 
the captured ships should instantly be slain, and the vessels con- 
sumed to ashes. 

During the time that Mr. Marks was negotiating with the gover- 
nor, Richards and his associates walked the streets at pleasure, 
while indignation flamed from every eye against them, as the rob- 
bers of their property, and the terror of their country. Though 
the affront thus offered to the Government was great and most 
audacious, yet, to preserve the lives of so many men, they granted 
their request, and sent on board a chest valued at three or four 
hundred pounds. 

Teach, as soon as he received the medicines and his fellow pirates, 
pillaged the ships of gold and provisions, and then dismissed the 
prisoners with their vessels. From the bar of Charlestown they 
sailed to North Carolina. Teach now began to reflect how he 
could best secure the spoil, along with some of the crew who were 
his favourites. Accordingly, under pretence of cleaning, he ran 
his vessel on shore and grounded; then ordered the men in Hand's 
sloop to come to his assistance, which they endeavouring to do, 
also ran aground, and so they were both lost. Then Teach went 
into the tender with forty hands, and upon a sandy island, about 
a league from shore, where there was neither bird nor beast, nor 
herb for their subsistence, he left seventeen of his crew, who must 
have inevitably perished, had not Major Bonnet received intelli- 
gence of their miserable situation and sent a long-boat for them. 


After this barbarous deed, Teach, with the remainder of his crew, 
went and surrendered to the governor of North Carolina, retaining 
all the property which had been acquired by his fleet. 

This temporary suspension of the depredations of Black Beard, 
for so he was now called, did not proceed from a conviction of his 
former errors, or a determination to reform, but to prepare for fu- 
ture and more extensive exploits. As governors are but men, and 
not unfrequently by no means possessed of the most virtuous prin- 
ciples, the gold of Black Beard rendered him comely in the gover- 
nor's eyes, and, by his influence, he obtained a legal right to the 
great ship called " The Queen Anne's Revenge." By order of the 
governor, a court of vice-admiralty was held at Bath-town, and 
that vessel was condemned as a lawful prize which he had taken 
from the Spaniards, though it was a well-known fact that she be- 
longed to English merchants. Before he entered upon his new 
adventures, he married a young woman of about sixteen years of 
age, the governor himself attending the ceremony. It was reported 
that this was only his fourteenth wife, about twelve of whom were 
yet alive; and though this woman was young and amiable, he be- 
haved towards her in a manner so brutal, that it was shocking to 
all decency and propriety, even among his abandoned crew of 

In his first voyage, Black Beard directed his course to the Ber- 
mudas, and meeting with two or three English vessels, emptied 
them of their stores and other necessaries, and allowed them to 
proceed. He also met with two French vessels bound for Martini- 
que, the one light, and the other laden with sugar and cocoa : he 
put the men on board the latter into the former, and allowed her to 
depart. He brought the freighted vessel into North Carolina, where 
the governor and Black Beard shared the prizes. Nor did their 
audacity and villainy stop here. Teach and some of his abandoned 
crew waited upon his excellency, and swore that they had seized the 
French ship at sea, without a soul on board : therefore a court was 
called, and she was condemned, the honourable governor received 
sixty hogsheads of sugar for his share, his secretary twenty, and 
the pirates the remainder. But as guilt always inspires suspicion, 
Teach was afraid that some one might arrive in the harbour who 
might detect the roguery : therefore, upon pretence that she was 
leaky, and might sink, and so stop up the entrance to the harbour 
where she lay, they obtained the governor's liberty to drag her into 
the river, where she was set on fire, and when burnt down to the 


water, her bottom was sunk, that so she might never rise in judg- 
ment against the governor and his confederates. 

Black Beard now being in the province of Friendship, passed 
several months in the river, giving and receiving visits from the 
planters ; while he traded with the vessels which came to that river, 
sometimes in the way of lawful commerce, and sometimes in his 
own way. When he chose to appear the honest man, he made^ir 
purchases on equal barter ; but when this did not suit his necessities, 
or his humour, he would rob at pleasure, and leave them to seek 
their redress from the governor; and the better to cover his intri- 
gues with his excellency, he would sometimes outbrave him to his 
face, and administer to him a share of that contempt and insolence 
which he so liberally bestowed upon the rest of the inhabitants of 
the province. 

But there are limits to human insolence and depravity. The cap- 
tains of the vessels who frequented that river, and had been so often 
harassed and plundered by Black Beard, secretly consulted with 
some of the planters what measures to pursue, in order to banish 
such an infamous miscreant from their coasts, and to bring him to 
deserved punishment. Convinced from long experience, that the 
governor himself, to whom it belonged, would give no redress, 
they represented the matter to the Governor of Virginia, and en- 
treated that an armed force might be sent from the men-of-war lying 
there, either to take or to destroy those pirates who infested their 

Upon this representation, the Governor of Virginia consulted 
with the captains of the two men-of-war as to the best measures 
to be adopted. It was resolved that the governor should hire two 
small vessels, which could pursue Black Beard into all his inlets 
and creeks; that they should be manned from the men-of-war, and 
the command given to Lieutenant Maynard, an experienced and 
resolute officer. When all was ready for his departure, the gov- 
ernor called an assembly, in which it was resolved to issue a pro- 
clamation, offering a great reward to any who, within a year, 
should take or destroy any pirate. 

Upon the 17th of November 1717, Maynard left James's river 
in quest of Black Beard, and on the evening of the 21st came in 
sight of the pirate. This expedition was fitted out with all possible 
expedition and secrecy, no boat being permitted to pass that might 
convey any intelligence, while care was taken to discover where 
the pirates were lurking. His excellency the Governor of Ber- 
muda, and his secretary, however, having obtained information cJ 


the intended expedition, the latter wrote a letter to Black Beard, 
intimating, that he had sent him four of his men, who were all he 
could meet with in or about town, and so bad him be upon his 
guard. These men were sent from Bath-town to the place where 
Black Beard lay, about the distance of twenty leagues. 

The hardened and infatuated pirate, having been often deceived 
by false intelligence, was the less attentive to this information, 
nor was he convinced of its accuracy until he saw the sloops sent 
10 apprehend him. Though be had then only twenty men on board, 
he prepared to give battle. Lieutenant Maynard arrived with his 
sloops in the evening, and anchored, as he could not venture, 
under cloud of night, to go into the place where Black Beard lay. 
The latter spent the night in drinking with the master of a trading- 
vessel, with the same indifference as if no danger had been near. 
Nay, such was the desperate wickedness of this villain, that, it 
is reported, during the carousals of that night, one of his men 
asked him, " In case any thing should happen to him during the 
engagement with the two sloops which were waiting to attack him 
in the morning, whether his wife knew where he had buried his 
money?" when he impiously replied, " That nobody but himself 
and the devil knew where it was, and the longest liver should 
take all." 

In the morning Maynard weighed, and sent his boat to sound, 
which coming near the pirate, received her fire. Maynard then 
hoisted royal colours, and made directly towards Black Beard with 
every sail and oar. In a little time the pirate ran aground, and so 
also did the king's vessels. Maynard lightened his vessel of the 
ballast and made towards Black Beard. Upon this he hailed him 
in his own rude style, " D — n you for villains, who are you, and 
from whence come you?" The lieutenant answered, " You may 
see from our colours we are no pirates." Black Beard bade him 
send his boat on board, that he might see who he was. But May- 
nard replied, " I cannot spare my boat, but I will come on board 
of you as soon as I can with my sloop." Upon this Black Beard 
took a glass of liquor and drank to him, saying, " I'll give no 
quarter nor take any from you." Maynard repliedj " He expect- 
ed no quarter from him, nor should he give him any." 

During this dialogue the pirate's ship floated, and the sloops 
were rowing with all expedition towards him. As she came near, 
the pirate fired a broadside, charged with all manner of small shot, 
which killed or wounded twenty men. Black Beard's ship in a 
little after fell broadside to the shore; one of the sloops called the 


Hanger, also fell astern. But Maynard finding that his own sloop 
had way, and would soon be on board of Teach, ordered all 
his men down, while himself and the man at the helm, whom he 
commanded to lie concealed, where the only persons who remained 
on deck. He at the same time desired them to take their pistols, 
cutlasses, and swords, and be ready for action upon his call, and, 
for greater expedition, two ladders were placed in the hatchway. 
When the king's sloop boarded, the pirate's case-boxes, filled 
with powder, small shot, slugs, and pieces of lead and iron, with 
a quickmateh in the mouth of them, were thrown into Maynard's 
sloop. Fortunately, however, the men being in the hold, they did 
small injury on the present occasion, though they are usually very 
destructive. Black Beard seeing few or no hands upon deck, cried 
to his men that they were all knocked on the head except three or 
four; " and therefore," said he, " let us jump on board, and cut 
to pieces those that are alive.'* 

Upon this, during the smoke occasioned by one of these case- 
boxes, Black Beard, with fourteen of his men, entered, and were not 
perceived until the smoke was dispelled. The signal was given to 
Maynard's men, who rushed up in an instant. Black Beard and 
the lieutenant exchanged shots, and the pirate was wounded; they 
then engaged sword in hand, until the sword of the lieutenant 
broke, but fortunately one of his men at that instant gave Black 
Beard a terrible wound in the neck and throat. A most despe- 
rate and bloody conflict ensued: — Maynard with twelve men, and 
Black Beard with fourteen. The sea was dyed with blood all 
around the vessel, and uncommon bravery was displayed on both 
sides. Though the pirate was wounded by the first shot from 
Maynard, though he had received twenty cuts, and as many shots, 
he fought with desperate valour; but at length, while in the act of 
cocking his pistol, he fell down dead. By this time eight of his 
men had fallen, and the rest being wounded, cried out for quarter, 
which was granted, as the ringleader was slain. The other sloop 
aiso attacked the men who remained in the pirate vessels, until 
they also cried out for quarter. And such was the desperation of 
Black Beard, that, having small hope of escaping, he had placed 
a negro with a match at the gunpowder-door, to blow up the ship 
the moment he should have been boarded by the king's men, in 
order to involve the whole in general ruin. That destructive 
broadside at the commencement of the action, which at first ap- 
peared so unlucky, was, however the means of their preservation 
!rom the intended destruction. 


Maynard severed the pirate's head from his body, suspended it 
upon his bowsprit-end, and sailed to Bath-town, to obtain medical 
aid for his wounded men. In the pirate sloop several letters and 
papers were found, which Black Beard would certainly have des- 
troyed previous to the engagement, had he not determined to blow 
her up upon his being taken, which disclosed the whole villainy 
between the honourable Governor of Bermuda and his honest 
secretary on the one hand, and the notorious pirate on the other, 
who had now suffered the just punishment of his crimes. 

Scarcely was Maynard returned to Bath-town, when he boldly 
went and made free with the sixty hogsheads of sugar in the pos- 
session of the governor, and the twenty in that of his secretary. 

After his men had been healed at Bath-town, the lieutenant pro- 
ceeded to Virginia, with the head of Black Beard still suspended 
on his bowsprit-end, as a trophy of his victory, to the great joy of 
all the inhabitants. The prisoners were tried, condemned, and 
executed; and thus all the crew of that infernal miscreant Black 
Beard were destroyed except two. One of these was taken out of 
a trading-vessel, only a day before the engagement, in which he 
received no less than seventy wounds, of all which he was cured. 
The other was Israel Hands, who was master of the Queen Anne's 
Revenge ; he was taken at Bath-town, being wounded in one of 
Black Beard's savage humours. One night Black Beard, drinking 
in his cabin with Hands, the pilot, and another man, without any 
pretence took a small pair of pistols, and cocked them under the 
table; which being perceived by the man he went on deck, leaving 
the captain, Hands, and the pilot together. When his pistols 
were prepared, he extinguished the candle, crossed his arms, and 
fired at his company. The one pistol did no execution, but the 
other wounded Hands in the knee. Interrogated concerning the 
meaning of this, he answered with an imprecation, " That if he 
did not now and then kill one of them, they would forget who he 
was." Hands was eventually tried and condemned, but as he was 
about to be executed, a vessel arrived with a proclamation prolong- 
ing the time of His Majesty's pardon, which Hands pleading, he 
was saved from a violent and shameful death. 

In the commonwealth of pirates, he who goes the greatest length 
of wickedness, is looked upon with a kind of envy amongst them, 
as a person of a more extraordinary gallantry; he is therefore 
entitled to be distinguished by some post, and if such a one has 
out courage, he must certainly be a great man. The hero of whom 
lire writing was thoroughly accomplished in this way, ana bjuie 


of his frolics of wickedness were as extravagant as if he aimed at 
making his men believe he was a devil incarnate. Being one day 
at sea, and a little flushed with drink; " Come," said he, H let us 
make a hell of our own, and try how long we can bear it." Ac- 
cordingly he, with two or three others, went down into the hold, 
and closing up all the hatches, filled several pots full of brimstone, 
and other combustible matter; they then set it on fire, and so co\i- 
tinued till they were almost suffocated, when some of the men cried 
out for air; at length he opened the hatches, not a httle pleased 
that he had held out the longest. 

Those of his crew who were taken alive, told a story which may 
appear a little incredible. That once, upon a cruise, they found 
out that they had a man on board more than their crew ; such a 
one was seen several days amongst them, sometimes below and 
sometimes upon deck, yet no man in the ship could give any account 
who he was, or from whence he came ; but that he disappeared a 
little before they were cast away in their great ship, and, it seems, 
they verily believed it was the devil. 

One would think these things should have induced them to reform 
their lives ; but being so many reprobates together, they encouraged 
and spirited one another up in their wickedness, to which a con- 
tinual course of drinking did not a little contribute. In Black 
Beard's Journal, which was taken, there were several memoranda 
of the following nature, all written with his own hand. — " Such a 
day, rum all out; — our company somewhat sober; — a d d con- 
fusion amongst us ; — rogues a plotting ; — great talk of separation. — 
So I looked sharp for a prize; such a day took one, with a great 

deal of liquor on board ; so kept the company hot, d d hot, 

then all things went well again." 

We shall close the narrative of this extraordinary man's life by 
an account of the cause why he was denominated Black Beard. 
He derived this name from his long black beard, which, like a 
frightful meteor, covered his whole face, and terrified all America 
more than any comet that had ever appeared. He was accustomed 
to twist it with ribbon in small quantities, and turn them about his 
ears. In time of action he wore a sling over his shoulders with 
three brace of pistols. He stuck lighted matches under his hat, 
which appearing on both sides of his face and eyes, naturally fierce 
and wild, made him such a figure that the human imagination 
cannot forma conception of a fury more terrible and alarming; 
and if he had the appearance and look of a fury, his actions cor- 
responded with tha character. 



Charles Vane was one of those who stole away the silver which 
the Spaniards had fished up from the wrecks of the galleons in the 
Gulf of Florida, and was at Providence when governor Rodgers 
arrived there with two men-of-war. 

All the pirates who were then found at this colony of rogues, 
submitted and received certificates of their pardon, except Captain 
Vane and his crew; who, as soon as they saw the men-of-war enter, 
slipped their cable, set fire to a prize they had in the harbour, 
sailed out with their piratical colours flying, and fired at one of 
the men-of-war, as they went off from the coast. 

Two days after, they met with a sloop belonging to Barbadoes, 
which they took, and kept the vessel for their own use, putting 
aboard five and twenty hands, with one Yeats, the commander. 
In a day or two they fell in with a small interloping trader, with a 
quantity of Spanish pieces of eight aboard, bound for Providence, 
which thay also took along with them. With these two sloops, 
Vane went to a small island and cleaned; where he shared the 
booty, and spent some time in a riotous manner. 

About the Jatter end of May, 1718, Vane and his crew sailed, 
and being in want of provisions, they beat up for the windward 
Islands. In the way they met with a Spanish sloop, bound from 
Porto Rico to the Havannah, which they burnt, stowed the Spani- 
ards into a boat, and left them to get to the island by the blaze of 
their vessel. Steering between St. Christopher's and Anguilla, 
they fell in with a brigantine and a sloop, freighted with such cargo 
as they wanted ; from whom they got provisions for sea-store. 

Some time after this, standing to the 'northward, in the track 
which the Old England ships take in their voyage to the American 
colonies, they took several ships and vessels, which they plundered 
of what they thought fit, and then let them pass. 

About the latter end of August, Vane, with his consort Yeats, 
came off South Carolina, and took a ship belonging to Ipswich, 
laden with logwood. This was thought convenient enough for their 
own business, and therefore they ordered their prisoners to work, 
and throw all the lading overboard ; but when they had more than 
half cleared the ship, the whim changed, and they would not have 


her: so Coggershall, the captain of the captured vessel, had his 
ship again, and he was suffered to pursue his voyage home. In 
this voyage the pirates took several ships and vessels, particularly 
a sloop from Barbadoes, a small ship from Antigua, a sloop belong- 
ing to Curacoa, and a large brigantine from Guinea, with upwards 
of ninety negroes aboard. The pirates plundered them all and let 
them go, putting the negroes out of the brigantine aboard Yeats' 

Captain Vane always treated his consort with very little respect, 
and assumed a superiority over him and his crew, regarding the 
vessel but as a tender to his own : this gave them disgust; for they 
thought themselver as good pirates, and as great rogues as the best 
of them; so they caballed together, and resolved, the first oppor- 
tunity, to leave the company, and accept of His Majesty's pardon, 
or set up for themselves ; either of which they thought more honour- 
able than to be servants to Vane: the putting aboard so many 
negroes, where there were so few hands to take care of them, ag- 
gravated the matter, though they thought fit to conceal or stifle 
their resentment at that time. 

In a day or two, the pirates lying off at anchor, Yeats in the 
evening slipped his cable, and put his vessel under sail, standing 
into the shore ; which when Vane saw, he was highly provoked, 
and got his sloop under sail to chase his consort. Vane's brigantine 
sailing best, he gained ground of Yeats, and would certainly have 
come up with them, had he had a little longer run ; but just as he 
got over the bar, when Vane came within gunshot of him, he fired 
a broadside at his old friend, and so took his leave. 

Yeats came into North Eddisto river, about ten leagues to the 
southward of Charlestown, and sent an express to the governor, 
to know if he and his comrades might have the benefit of his 
Majesty's pardon; promising that, if they might, they would sur- 
render themselves to his mercy, with the sloops and negroes. 
Their request being granted, they all came up, and received cer- 
tificates ; and Captain Thomson, from whom the negroes were 
taken, had them all restored to him, for the use of his owners. 

Vane cruised some time off the bar, in hopes to catch Yeates at 
his coining out again, but therein he was disappointed; however, 
he there took two ships from Charlestown, which were bound home 
to England. It happened just at this time, that two sloops well 
manned and armed, were equipped to go after a pirate, which the 
governor of South Carolina was informed lay then in Cape Fear 
river, cleaning: but Colonel Khet, who commanded the sloops, 


meeting with one of the ships that Vane had plundered, going 
back over the bar for such necessaries as had been taken from her; 
and she giving the colonel an account of being taken by the pirate 
Vane, and also, that some of her men, while they were prisoners 
on board of him, had heard the pirates say they should clean in 
one of the rivers to the southward, he altered his first design, and 
instead of standing to the northward, in pursuit of the pirate in 
Cape Fear river, turned to the southward after Vane, who had 
ordered such reports to be given out, on purpose to put any force 
that should come after him upon a wrong scent; for he stood away 
to the northward, so that the pursuit proved to be of no effect. 
Colonel Rhet's speaking with this ship was the most unlucky thing 
that could have happened, because it turned him out of the road 
which, in all probability, would have brought him into the company 
of Vane, as well as of the pirate he went after, and so they might 
have been both destroyed; whereas, by the colonel's going a differ- 
ent way, he not only lost the opportunity of meeting with one, but 
if the other had not been infatuated, and lain six weeks together 
at Cape Fear, he would have missed him likewise ; however, the 
colonel having searched the rivers and inlets, for several days with- 
out success, at length sailed in prosecution of his first design, and 
met with the pirate accordingly, whom he fought and took. 

Captain Vane went into an inlet to the northward, where he 
met with Captain Teach, otherwise Black Beard, whom he saluted 
; when he found who he was) with his great guns loaded with shot ; 
it being the custom among pirates when they met, to do so, though 
they are wide of one another : Black Beard answered the salute in 
the same manner, and mutual civilities passed between them some 
days, when*, about the beginning of October, Vane took leave, 
and sailed farther to the northward. 

On the 23rd of October, off Long Island, he took a small brigan- 
tine bound from Jamaica to Salem in New England, besides a 
little sloop ; they rifled the brigantine, and sent her away. From 
thence they resolved on a cruise between Cape Meise and Cape 
Nicholas, where they spent some time without seeing or speaking 
with any vessel, till the latter end of November; they then fell in 
with a ship, which it was expected would have struck as soon as 
their black colours were hoisted ; but instead of this she discharged 
a broadside upon the pirate, and hoisted French colours, which 
showed her to be a French man-of-war. Vane desired to have 
nothing further to say to her, but trimmed his sails, and stood 
away from the Frenchman; however, Monsieur having a mind to 


be better informed who ne was, set all his sails and crowded alter 
him. During this chase the pirates were divided in their resolution 
what to do : Vane, the captain, was for making off as fast as he 
could, alleging that the man-of-war was too strong for them to cope 
with ; but one John Rackam, their quarter-master, and who was 
a kind of check upon the captain, rose up in defence of a contrary 
opinion, saying, " that though she had more guns, and a greater 
weight of metal, they might board her, and then the best bo^s 
wotild carry the day," Rackam was well seconded, and the ma- 
jority was for boarding; but Vane urged, that it was too rash and 
desperate an enterprise, the man-of-war appearing to be twice 
their force, and that their brigantine might be sunk by her before 
they could reach to board her. The mate, one Robert Deal, was 
of Vane's opinion, as were about fifteen more, and all the rest 
joined with Rackam the quarter-master. At length the captain 
made use of his power to determine this dispute, which in these 
cases is absolute and uncontrollable, by their own laws, viz. the 
captain's absolute right of determining in all questions concerning 
fighting, chasing, or being chased; in all other matters whatsoever 
the captain being governed by a majority ; so the brigantine having 
the heels, as they term it, of the Frenchman, she came clear off. 

But the next day, the captain's conduct was obliged to stand the 
test of a vote, and a resolution passed against his honour and 
dignity, which branded him with the name of coward, deposed 
him from the command, and turned him out of the company with 
marks of infamy ; and with him went all those who did not vote 
for boarding the French man-of-war. They had with them a small 
sloop that had been taken by them some time before, which they 
gave to Vane and the discarded members ; and that they might be 
in a condition to provide for themselves by their own honest endea- 
vours, they let them have a sufficient quantity of provisions and 

John Rackam was voted captain of the brigantine in Vane's 
room, and he proceeded towards the Caribbee Islands; where we 
must leave him, till we have finished our history of Charles Vane. 

The sloop sailed for the bay of Honduras, and Vane and his 
crew put her in as good a condition as they could by the way, that 
they might follow their old trade. They cruised two or three d«yi 
off the north-west part of Jamaica, and took a sloop and two pet- 
tiagas, all the men of which entered with them : the sloop they 
kept, and Robert Deal was appointed captain 

On the loth of December, the two sloops came into the bay, 


wnere they found only one vessel at anchor. She was called the 
Fearl of Jamaica, and got under sail at the sight of them ; but 
the pirate sloops coming near Rowland, and showing no colours, 
he gave them a gun or two, whereupon they hoisted the black flag, 
and fired three guns each at the Pearl. She struck, and the pirates 
took possession, and carried her away to a small island called Bar- 
nacho, where they cleaned. By the way they met with a sloop 
from Jamaica, as she was going down to the bay, which they also 

In February, Vane sailed from Barnacho, for a cruise; but, 
some days after he was out, a violent tornado overtook him, which 
separated him from his consort, and, after two days' distress, threw 
his sloop upon a small uninhabited island, near the bay of Hon- 
duras, where she was staved to pieces, and most of her men were 
drowned: Vane himself was saved, but reduced to great straits fox- 
want of necessaries, having no opportunity to get any thing from 
the wreck. He lived here some weeks, and was supported chiefly 
by fishermen, who frequented the island with small crafts from the 
main, to catch turtles and other fish. 

While Vane was upon this island, a ship put in there from Ja- 
maica for water, the captain of which, one Holfbrd, an old bucan- 
ier, happened to be Vane's acquaintance. He thought this a good 
opportunity to get off, and accordingly applied to his old friend; 
but Holford absolutely refused him, saying to him, " Charles, I 
shan't trust you aboard my ship, unless I carry you as a prisoner, 
for I shall have you caballing with my men, knocking me on the 
head, and running away with my ship a pirating." Vane made 
all the protestations of honour in the world to him; but, it seems, 
Captain Holford was too intimately acquainted with him, to repose 
any confidence at all in his words or oaths. He told him, " He 
might easily find a way to get off, if he had a mind to it : — I am 
going down the bay," said he, " and shall return hither in about 
a month, and if I find you upon the island when I come back, I'll 
carry you to Jamaica, and there hang you." " How can I get 
away ?" answered Vane. " Are there not fishermen's dories upon 
the beach ? Can't you take one of them ?" replied Holford. 
" "What?" said Vane, " Would you have me steal a dory then?" 
" Do you make it a matter of conscience," replied Holford, " to 
steal a dory, when you have been a common robber and pirate, 
stealing ships and cargoes, and plundering all mankind that fell 
in your way ! stay here if you are so squeamish :" and he left him 
to consider of the matter. 


After Captain Holford's departure, another ship put into the 
same island, in her way home for water; none of the company 
knowing Vane, he easily passed for another man, and so was 
shipped for the voyage. One would be apt to think that Vane was 
now pretty safe, and likely to escape the fate which his crimes had 
merited; but here a cross accident happened that ruined all. Hol- 
ford returning from the bay, was met by this ship, and the captains 
being very well acquainted with each other, Holford was invited 
to dine aboard, which he did. As he passed along to the cabin, 
he chanced to cast his eye down into the hold, and there saw 
C arles Vane at work : he immediately spoke to the captain, say- 
i g, " Do yon know whom you have got aboard there ?" " Why," 
said he, " I have shipped a man at such an island, who was cast 
away in a trading sloop, and he seems to be a brisk hand." " I 
tell you," replied Captain Holford, " it is Vane, the notorious 
pirate." " If it be he," cried the other, " I won't keep him " 
" Why then," said Holford, " I'll send and take him aboard, and 
surrender him at Jamaica." This being agreed upon, captain 
Holford, as soon as he returned to his ship, sent his boat with his 
mate armed, who, coming to Vane, showed him a pistol, and told 
him he was his prisoner. No man daring to make opposition, he 
was brought aboard and put into irons; and when Captain Holford 
arrived at Jamaica, he delivered up his old acquaintance to justice, 
at which place he was tried, convicted, and executed, as some 
time before, Vane's consort, Robert Dale, who was brought thither 
by one of the men-of-war. It is clear from this how little ancient 
friendship will avail a great villain, when he is deprived of the 
power that had before supported and rendered him formidable. 


This John Rackam, as has been reported in the foregoing pages, 
was quarter master to Vane's company, till the crew wore divided, 
and Vane turned out of it for refusing to board the French man- 
of-war, Rackam being voted captain of the division that remained 
in the brigantine. The 24th of November, 1718, was the first day 
of his command; his first cruise was among the Carribbee Islands, 
where he took and plundered several vessels. 

We have already taken notice, that when Captain Woods Rod- 



gers wen, to the Island of Providence with the king's pardon to 
such of the pirates as should surrender, this brigantine, whicn 
Rackam now commanded, made its escape through another passage, 
bidding defiance to the mercy that was offered. 

To the windward of Jamaica, a Madeira-man fell into the pirate's 
way, which they detained two or three days, till they had their 
market out of her, and then they gave her back to the master, and 
permitted one Hosea Tidsel, a Tavern-keeper at Jamaica, who 
had been picked up in one of their prizes, to depart in her, she 
being bound for that island. 

After this cruise, they went into a small island, and cleaned, 
and spent their Christmas ashore, drinking and carousing as long 
as they had any liquor left, and then went to sea again for more. 
They succeeded but too well, though they took no extraordinary 
prize for above two months, except a ship laden with convicts from 
Newgate, bound for the plantations, which in a few days was 
retaken, with all her cargo, by an English man-of-war that was 
stationed in those seas. 

Rackam stood towards the island of Bermuda, and took a ship 
bound to England from Carolina, and a small pink from New 
England, both which he brought to the Bahama Islands, where, 
with the pitch, tar, and stores, they cleaned again, and refitted 
their own vessel; but staying too long in that neighbourhood, 
Captain Rodgers, who was Governor of Providence, hearing of 
these ships being taken, sent out a sloop well manned and armed, 
which retook both the prizes, though in the mean while the pirate 
had the good fortune to escape. 

From hence they sailed to the back of Cuba, where Rackam 
kept a little kind of a family; at which place they stayed a con- 
siderable time, living ashore with their Delilahs, till their money 
and provisions were expended, and they concluded it time to look 
out for more. They repaired their vessel, and were making ready 
to put to sea, when a guarda de costa came in with a small English 
sloop, which she had taken as an interloper on the coast. The 
Spanish guard-ship attacked the pirate, but Rackam being close 
in behind a little island, she could do but little execution where 
she lay ; the Dons therefore warped into the channel that evening, 
in order to make sure of her the next morning. Rackam, finding 
his case desperate, and that there was hardly any possibility or 
escaping, resolved to attempt the following enterprize. The Spa- 
nish prize lying for better security close into the land, between 
the little island and the Main, our desperado took his crew into 


the boat with their cutlasses, rounded the little island, and fell 
aboard their prize silently in the dead of night without being dis- 
covered, telling the Spaniards that were aboard her, that if they 
spoke a word, or made the least noise, they were all dead men ; 
and so they became masters of her. When this was done, he 
slipped her cable, and drove out to sea. The Spanish, man-of-war 
was so intent upon their expected prize, that they minded nothing 
else, and as soon as day broke, they made a furious fire upon the 
empty sloop; but it was not long before they were rightly apprised 
of the matter, when they cursed themselves sufficiently for a com- 
pany of fools, to be bit out of a good rich prize, as she proved to 
oe, and to have nothing but an old crazy hull in the room of her. 

Rackam and his crew had no occasion to be displeased at the 
exchange, as it enabled them to continue some time longer in a 
way of life that suited their depraved minds. In August 1720, we 
find him at sea again, scouring the harbours and inlets of the 
north and west parts of Jamaica, where he took several small craft, 
which proved no great booty to the rovers; but they had but few 
men, and therefore were obliged to run at low game till they could 
increase their company and their strength. 

In the beginning of September, they took seven or eight fishing- 
boats in Harbour Island, stole their nets and other tackle, and 
then went off to the French part of Hispaniola, where they landed, 
and took the cattle away, with two or three Frenchmen whom 
they found near the water-side, hunting wild hogs in the evening. 
The Frenchmen came on board, whether by consent or compul- 
sion is not certainly known. They afterwards plundered two 
sloops, and returned to Jamaica, on the north coast of which 
island, near Porto Maria Bay, they took a schooner, Thomas 
Spenlow, master; it being then the 19th of October. The next 
day Rackam seeing a sloop in Dry Harbour Bay stood in and fired 
a gun ; the men all ran ashore and he took the sloop and lading ; but 
when those ashore found that they were pirates, they hailed the sloop, 
and let them know that they were all willing to come aboard of them. 

Rackam's coasting the island in this manner, proved fatal to 
him ; for intelligence of his expedition, came to the governor, by 
a canoe which he had surprised ashore in Ocho Bay : upon this a 
sloop was immediately fitted out, and sent round the island in 
quest of him, commanded by Captain Barnet, and manned with 
a good number of hands. Rackam, rounding the island, and 
drawing round the western point, called Point Negnl, saw a smail 
tettiaga, which, at sight of the sloop, ran ashore and landed he* 


men, when one of them hailed her. Answer was made that they 
were Englishmen, and begged the pettiaga's men to come on board 
and drink a bowl of punch; which they prevailed upon them to 
do. Accordingly, the company, in an evil hour, came all aboard 
of the pirate, consisting of nine persons ; they were armed with 
muskets and cutlasses, but what was their real design by so doing 
we shall not take upon us to say. They had no sooner laid down 
their arms and taken up their pipes, than Barnet's sloop, which 
was in pursuit of Rackam's, came in sight. 

The pirates, finding she stood directly towards them, feared the 
event, and weighed their anchor, which they had but lately let go, 
and stood off. Captain Barnet gave them chase, and, having the 
advantage of little breezes of wind which blew off the land, came 
up with her, and brought her into Port Royal, in Jamaica. 

About a fortnight after, the prisoners were brought ashore, viz. 
November 16, 1720, and Captain Rackam and eight of his men 
condemned and executed. Captain Rackam and two others were 
hung in chains. 

But what was very surprising, was the conviction of the nine 
men that came aboard the sloop on the same day she was taken. 
They were tried at an adjournment of the court, on the 24th of 
January, the magistracy waited all that time, it is supposed, for 
evidence to prove the piratical intention of going aboard the said 
sloop; for it seemed there was no act of piracy committed by 
them, as appeared by the witnesses against them, two Frenchmen 
taken by Rackam off the island of Hispaniola; who merely deposed 
that the prisoners came on board the pirate without compulsion. 

The court considered the prisoners' case, and the majority of 
the commissioners being of opinion that they were all guilty of the 
piracy and felony they were charged with, viz the going over 
with a piratical and felonious intent to John Rackam, &c. then 
notorious pirates, and by them known to be so, they all received 
sentence of death, and were executed on the 17th of February, 
1721, at Gallows Point at Port Royal. 


This adventurer was mate of a sloop that sailed from Jamaica, 
and was taken by Captain "Winter, a pirate, just before the settle- 


men t of the pirates at Providence island. After the pirates had 
surrendered to his Majesty's pardon, and Providence island was 
peopled by the English government, Captain England sailed to 
Africa. There he took several vessels, particularly the Cadogan, 
from Bristol, commanded by one Skinner. When the latter struck 
to the pirate, he was ordered to come on board in his boat. The 
person upon whom he first cast his eye, proved to be his old boat 
swain, who stared him in the face, and accosted him in the folTbw- 
ing manner: "Ah, Captain Skinner, is it you? the only person I 
wished to see : 1 am much in your debt, and I shall pay you all in 
your own coin." The poor man trembled in every joint, and 
dreaded the event, as he well might. It happened that Skinner 
and his old boatswain, with -some of his men, had quarrelled, so 
that he thought fit to remove them on board a man-of-war, while he 
refused to pay them their wages. Not long after, they found means 
to leave the man-of-war, and went on board a small ship in the 
West Indies. They were taken by a pirate, and brought to Pro- 
vidence, and from thence sailed as pirates with Captain England. 
Thus accidentally meeting their old captain, they severely revenged 
the treatment they had received. 

After the rough salutation which has been related, the boatswain 
called to his comrades, laid hold of Skinner, tied him fast to the 
windlass, and pelted him with glass bottles until they cut him in a 
shocking manner, then whipped him about the deck until they were 
quite fatigued, remaining deaf to all his prayers and entreaties; 
and at last, in an insulting tone, observed, that as he had been a 
good master to his men, he should have an easy death, and upon 
this shot him through the head. 

Having taken such things out of the ship as they stood most in 
need of, she was given to Captain Davis in order to try his fortune 
with a few hands. 

Captain England, some time after, took a ship called the Pearl, 
for which he exchanged his own sloop, fitted her up for piratical 
service, and called her the Royal James. In that vessel he was 
very fortunate, and took several ships of different sizes and different 
nations. In the spring of 1719, the pirates returned to Africa, and 
beginning at the river Gambia, sailed down the coast to Cape Corso, 
and captured several vessels. Some of them they pillaged, and 
allowed to proceed, some they fitted out for the pirate service, and 
others they burned. 

Leaving our pirate upon this coast, the Revenge and the Flying 
Mug, two other pirate vessels, sailed for the West Indies, where 


they took several prizes, and then cleared and sailed for Brazil. 
There they captured some Portuguese vessels ; but a large Portu- 
guese man-of-war coming up to them, proved an unwelcome guett. 
The Revenge escaped, but was soon lost upon that coast. The Fly- 
ing King in despair ran ashore. There were then seventy on board, 
twelve of whom were slain, and the remainder taken prisoneis. 
The Portuguese hanged thirty-eight of them. 

Captain England, whilst cruising upon that coast, took the Peter- 
borough of Bristol, and the Victory. The former they detained, 
the latter they plundered and dismissed. In the course of his voy- 
age, England met with two ships, but these taking shelter under 
Cape Corso Castle, he unsuccessfully attempted to set them on fire. 
He next sailed down to Whydah road, where Captain La Bouc.^e 
had been before England, and left him no spoil. He now went into 
the harbour, cleaned his own ship, and fitted up the Peterborough, 
which he called the Victory. During several weeks the pirates 
remained in this quarter, indulging in everv species of riot and 
debauchery, until the natives, exasperatea with their conduct, 
came to an open rupture, when several of the negroes were slain, 
and one of their towns set on fire by the pirates. 

Leaving that port, the pirates, when at sea, determined by vote 
to sail for the East Indies, and arrived at Madagascar. After wa- 
tering and taking in some provisions they sailed for the coast of 
Malabar. This place is situated in the Mogul Empire, and is one 
of its most beautiful and fertile districts. It extends from the coast 
of Canora to Cape Comorin. The original natives are negroes; 
but a mingled race of Mahometans, who are generally merchants, 
have been introduced in modern times. Having sailed almost round 
the one half of the globe, literally seeking whom they might devour, 
our pirates arrived in this hitherto untried and prolific field for 
their operations. 

Not long after their settlement at Madagascar, they took a cruise, 
in which they captured two Indian vessels and a Dutchman. They 
exchanged the latter for one of their own, and directed their course 
again to Madagascar. Several of their hands were sent on shore 
with tents and ammunition, to kill such beasts and venison as the 
island afforded. They also formed the resolution to go in search of 
Avery's crew, which they knew had settled upon the island; but 
as their residence was upon the other side of the island, the loss of 
time and labour was the only fruit of their search. 

They tarried here but a very short time, then steered their course 
to J uanua, and coming out of that harbour, fell in with two Lugaca 


Vessels and an Ostend ship, all Indiamen, which, after a most des- 
perate action, they captured. The particulars of this extraordinary 
action are related in the following letter from Captain Mackra 

" Bombay t November \§th, 1720. 
" We arrived on the 25th of July last, in company with the 
Greenwich, at Juanna, an island not far from Madagascar. But- 
ting in there to refresh our men, we found fourteen pirates who 
came in their canoes from the Mayotta, where the pirate ship to 
which they belonged, viz. the Indian Queen, two hundred and 
lii'ty tons, twenty-eight guns, and ninety men, commanded by 
Captain Oliver de la Bouche, bound from the Guinea coast to the 
East Indies, had been bulged and lost. They said they left the 
captain and forty of their men building a new vessel, to proceed 
on their wicked design. Captain Kirby and I concluded that it 
might be of great service to the East India Company to destroy 
such a nest of rogues, and were ready to sail for that purpose on the 
17th of August, about eight o'clock in the morning, when we dis- 
covered two pirates standing into the bay of Juanna, one of thirty- 
four, and the other of thirty-six guns. I immediately went on 
board the Greenwich, where they seemed very diligent in pre- 
paration for an engagement, and 1 left Captain Kirby with mutual 
promises of standing by each other. 1 then unmoored, got under 
sail, and brought two boats a-head to row me close to the Green- 
wich ; but he being open to a valley and a breeze, made the best 
of his way from me; which an Ostender in our company, of 
twenty-two guns, seeing, did the same, though the captain had 
promised heartily to engage with us, and I believe would have 
been as good as his word, if Captain Kirby had kept his. About 
half an hour after twelve, I called several times to the Greenwic h 
to bear down to our assistance, and fired a shot at him, but to no 
purpose; for though we did not doubt but he would join us, be- 
cause, when he got about a league from us he brought his ship to 
and looked on, yet both he and the Ostender basely deserted u>, 
and left us engaged with barbarous and inhuman enemies, with 
their black and bloody flags hanging over us, without the least 
appearance of ever escaping, but to be cut to pieces. But God in his 
good providence determined otherwise ; for, notwithstanding their 
superiority, we engaged them both about three hours ; during which 
time the biggest of them received some shot betwixt wind and 
water, which made her keep off a little to stop her leaks The 
othei endeavoured all she could to board us, by rowing with her 


oars, being within half a ship's length of us above an hour; but 
by good fortune we shot all her oars to pieces, which prevented 
Vhera, and by consequence saved our lives. 

* About four o'clock most of the officers and men posted on the 
quarter-deck being killed and wounded, the largest ship making 
up to us with diligence, being still within a cable's length of us, 
often giving us a broadside; there being now no hopes of Captain 
Kirby's coming to our assistance, we endeavoured to run ashore; 
and though we drew four feet of water more than the pirate, it 
pleased God that he stuck fast on a higher ground than happily we 
fell in with; so was disappointed a second time from boarding us. 
Here we had a more violent engagement than before: all my offi- 
cers and most of my men behaved with unexampled courage; and, 
as we had a considerable advantage by having a broadside to his 
bow, we did him great damage; so that had Captain Kirby come 
in then, I believe we should have taken both the vessels, for we 
had one of them sure; but the other pirate (who was still firing at 
us), seeing the Greenwich did not offer to assist us, supplied his 
consort with three boats full of fresh men. About five in the even- 
ing the Greenwich stood clear away to sea, leaving us struggling 
hard for life, in the very jaws of death; which the other pirate 
that was afloat, seeing, got a warp out, and was hauling under our 

" By this time many of my men being killed and wounded, and 
no hopes left us of escaping being all murdered by enraged barba- 
rous conquerors, I ordered all that could get into the long-boat, 
under the cover of the smoke of our guns; so that, with what some 
did in boats, and others swimming, most of us that were able got 
ashore by seven o'clock. When the pirates came aboard, they 
cut three of our wounded men to pieces. I with some of my people 
made what haste we could to King's-town, twenty-five miLes from 
us, where I arrived next day, almost dead with the fatigue and loss 
of blood, having been sorely wounded in the head by a musket- 

" At this town I heard that the pirates had offered ten thousand 
dollars to the country people to bring me in, which many of them 
would have accepted, only they knew the king and all his chief 
people were in my interest. Meantime, I caused a report to be 
spread that I was dead of my wounds, which much abated their 
fury. About ten days after, being pretty well recovered, and 
hoping the malice of our enemies was nigh over, I oegan „o con- 
sider the dismal condition we were reduced to: being in a place 
wb«re we had no hopes of getting a passage home, all of us in a 


manner naked, not having had time to bring with us either a shirt 
or a pair of shoes, except what we had on. Having obtained leave 
to go on board the pirates with a promise of safety, several of the 
chief of them knew me, and some of them had sailed with me, 
which I found of great advantage; because, notwithstanding then- 
promise, some of them would have cut me to pieces, and all that 
would not enter with them, had it not been for their chief captain, 
Edward England, and some others whom I knew. They talked 
of burning one of their ships, which we had so entirely disabled 
as to be no farther useful to them, and to fit the Cassandra in 
her room; but in the end I managed the affair so well, that they 
made me a present of the said shattered ship, which was Dutch 
built, and called the Fancy ; her burden was about three hundred 
tons. I procured also a hundred and twenty nine bales of the 
company 's cloth, though they would not give me a rag of my own 

"They sailed the 3rd of September: and I, with jury-masts, 
and such old sails as they left me, made a shift to do the like on 
the 8th, together with forty-three of my ship's crew, including two 
passengers and twelve soldiers; having no more than five tons of 
water aboard After a passage of forty- eight days, I arrived here 
on the 26th of October, almost naked and starved, having been 
reduced to a pint of water a day, and almost in despair of ever 
seeing land, by reason of the calms we met with between the coast 
of Arabia and Malabar. 

" We had in all thirteen men killed and twenty-four wounded; 
and we were told that we destroyed about ninety or a hundred of 
the pirates. When they left us, they were about three hundred 
whites, and eighty blacks in both ships. I am persuaded, had our 
consort the Greenwich done his duty, we had destroyed both of 
them, and got two hundred thousand pounds for our owners and 
selves; whereas the loss of the Cassandra may justly be imputed 
to his deserting us. I have delivered all the bales that were given 
me into the company's warehouse, for which the governor and 
council have ordered me a reward. Our governor, Mr. Boon, who 
is extremely kind and civil to me, had ordered me home in the 
packet; but Captain Harvey, who had a prior promise, being 
come in with the fleet, goes in my room. The governor hath pro- 
mised me a country voyage to help to make up my losses, and 
would have me stay and accompany him to England next year." 

Captain Mackra was certainly in imminent danger, in trusting 
himself and his men on board the pirate ship, and unquestionably 


nothing but the desperate circumstances in which he was placed 
could have justified so hazardous a step. The honour and influence 
of Captain England, however, protected him and his men from 
the fury of the crew, who would willingly have wreaked their 
vengeance upon them. 

It is pleasing to discover any instance of generosity or honour 
among such an abandoned race, who bid defiance and are re- 
gardless of all laws both human and divine. Captain England 
was so steady to Captain Mackra, that he informed him, it would be 
with no small difficulty and address that he would be able to pre- 
serve him and his men from the fury of the crew, who were greatly 
enraged at the resistance which had been made. He likewise 
acquainted him, that his influence and authority among them was 
giving place to that of Captain Taylor, chiefly because the dispo- 
sition of the latter was more savage and brutal. They therefore 
consulted between them what was the best method to secure the 
favour of Taylor, and keep him in good humour. Mackra made 
the punch to flow in great abundance, and employed every artifice 
to soothe the mind of that ferocious villain. A singular incident 
was also vejry favourable to the unfortunate captain. It happened 
that a pirate, with a prodigious pair of whiskers, a wooden le^, 
and stuck round with pistols, came blustering and swearing upon 
the quarter-deck, inquiring " where was Captain Mackra." He 
naturally supposed that this barbarous-looking fellow would be 
his executioner; but, as he approached, he took the captain by 
the hand, swearing, that he was an honest fellow, and that he had 
formerly sailed with him, and would stand by him ; and let him 
see the man that would touch him." This terminated the dispute, 
and Captain Taylor's disposition was so amelioiated with punch, 
that he consented that the old pirate ship, and so many bales of 
cloth, should be given to Mackra, and then sank into the arms of 
intoxication. England now pressed Mackra to hasten away, lest 
the ruffian, upon his becoming sober, should not only retract his 
word, but give liberty to his crew to cut him and his men to pieces. 

But the gentle temper of Captain England, and his generosity 
towards the unfortunate Mackra, proved the origin of much cala- 
mity to himself. The crew, in general, deeming the kind of usage 
which Mackra had received, inconsistent with piratical policy, 
they circulated a report, that he was coming against them with the 
Company's force. The result of these invidious reports was to de- 
prive England of his command^ and to excite these cruel villains 
to put him on sbor«* with three others, upon the island of Maun- 


Uug. If England and his small company had not been destitute o« 
every necessary, they might have made a comfortable subsistence 
here, as the island abounds with deer, hogs, and other animals. 
Dissatisfied, however, with their solitary situation, Captain Eng- 
land and his three men exerted their industry and ingenuity, and 
formed a small boat, with which they sailed to Madagascar, where 
they subsisted upon the generosity of some more fortunate piratical 

Captain Taylor detained some of the officers and men belonging 
to Captain Mackra, and having repaired their vessel, sailed for 
India. The day before they made land, they espied two ships to 
the eastward, and supposing them to be English, Captain Taylor 
ordered one of the officers of Mackra's ship to communicate to him 
the private signals between the Company's ships, swearing that if 
he did not do so immediately, he would cut him into pound pieces. 
But the poor man being unable to give the information demanded, 
was under the necessity of enduring their threats. Arrived at the 
vessels, they found that they were two Moorish ships, laden with 
horses. The pirates brought the captains and merchants on board, 
and tortured them in a barbarous manner, to constrain them to tell 
where they had hid their treasure. They were, however, disap- 
pointed ; and the next morning they discovered land, and at the 
same time a fleet on shore plying to windward. In this situation 
they were at a considerable loss how to dispose of their prizes. 
To let them go would lead to their discovery, and thus defeat the 
design of their voyage; and it was a distressing matter to sink the 
men and the horses, though many of them were for adopting that 
measure. They, however, brought them to anchor, threw all the 
sails overboard, and cut one of the masts half through. 

While they lay at anchor, and were employed in taking in water, 
one of the above-mentioned fleet moved towards them with English 
colours, and was answered by the pirate with a red ensign : but 
they did not hail each other. At night they left the Muscat ships, 
and sailed after the fleet. About four next morning, the pirates 
were in the midst of the fleet, but seeing their vast superiority, 
were greatly at loss what method to adopt. The Victory was be- 
come leaky, and their hands were so few in number, that it only 
remained for them to deceive, if possible, the English squadron. 
They were unsuccessful in gaining any thing out of that fleet, and 
had only the wretched satisfaction of burning a single galley. 
They however that day seized a galliot laden with cotton, and 
made inquiry of the men concerning the fleet. They protested 


that they had not seen a ship since they left Gogo, and earnestly 
implored their mercy ; but, instead of treating them with lenity, 
they put them to the rack, in order to extort farther confession. 
The day following, a fresh easterly wind blew hard, and rent the 
galliot's sails ; upon this the pirates put her company into a boat, 
with nothing but a try-sail, no provisions, and only four gallons 
of water, and, though they were out of sight of land, left them to 
shift for themselves. 

It may be proper to inform our readers, that one Angria, an In- 
dian prince, of considerable territory and strength, had proved a 
troublesome enemy to the Europeans, and particularly to the Eng- 
lish. Callaba was his principal fort, situated not many leagues 
from Bombay, and he possessed an island in sight of the port, 
from whence he molested the Company's ships. His art in brib- 
ing the ministers of the Great Mogul, and the shallowness of 
the water, that prevented large ships of war from approaching, 
were the principal causes of his safety. 

The Bombay fleet, consisting of four grabs, the London and the 
Candois, and two other ships, with a galliot, having an additional 
thousand men on board for this enterprise, sailed to attack a fort 
belonging to Angria upon the Malabar coast. Though their 
strength was great, yet they were totally unsuccessful in their 
enterprise. It was this fleet returning home that our pirates dis- 
covered upon the present occasion. Upon the sight of the pirates, 
the commodore of the fleet intimated to Mr. Brown the general, 
that as they had no orders to fight, and had gone upon a different 
purpose, it would be improper for them to engage. Informed of 
the loss of this favourable opportunity of destroying the robbers, 
the governor of Bombay was highly enraged, and giving the com- 
mand of the fleet to Captain Mackra, ordered him to pursue and 
engage them wherever they should be found. 

The pirates having barbarously sent away the galliot with her 
men, they arrived southward, and between Goa and Carwar they 
heard several guns, so that they came to anchor, and sent their 
boat to reconnoitre, which returned next morning with the intelli- 
gence of two grabs lying at anchor in the road. They accordingly 
weighed, ran towards the bay, and in the morning were discovered 
by the grabs, who had just time to run under India-Diva castle 
for protection. This was the more vexatious to the pirates, as 
they were without water : some of them, therefore, were for mak- 
ing a descent upon the island, but that measure not being gene- 


rally approved, they sailed towards the south, and took a smaL" 
ship, which had only a Dutchman and two Portuguese on board. 
They sent one of these ashore to the Captain, to inform him that, 
if he would give them some water and fresh provisions, he might 
have his vessel returned. He replied that, if they would give him 
possession over the bar, he would comply with their request. But, 
suspecting the integrity of his design, they sailed to Lacca Qeva 
islands, uttering dreadful imprecations against the captain. 

Disappointed in finding water in these islands, they sailed to 
Malinda island, and sent their boats on shore, to discover if there 
was any water, or if there were any inhabitants. Thev returned 
with the information, that there was abundance of water, that the 
houses were only inhabited by women and children, the men hav- 
ing fled at the appearance of the ships. They accordingly hastened 
to supply themselves with water, used the defenceless women in a 
brutal manner, destroyed many of their fruit-trees, and set some 
of their houses on fire. 

While off this island, they lost several of their anchors by the 
rockiness of the ground; and one day, it blowing more violently than 
usual, they were forced to take to sea, leaving several people and 
most of the water casks ; but when the gale was over, they returned 
to take in their men and water. Their provisions being nearly 
exhausted, they resolved to visit the Dutch at Cochin. After sailing 
three days, they arrived off Tellechery, and took a small vessel 
belonging to Governor Adams, and brought the master on board, 
very much intoxicated, who informed them of the expedition of 
Captain Mackra. This intelligence raised their utmost indignation. 
t: A villain !" said they, " to whom we have given a ship and pre- 
sents, to come against us ! he ought to be hanged ; and since we 
cannot show our resentment to him, let us hang the dogs his people, 
who wish him well, and would do the same, if they were clear." 
" If it be in my power," said the quarter-master, " both masters 
and officers of ships shall be carried with us for the future, only to 
plague them. Now, England we may mark him for this." 

They proceeded to Calicut, and attempting to cut out a ship, 
were prevented by some guns placed upon shore. One of Captain 
Mackra's officers was under deck at this time, and was commanded 
both by the captain and quarter-master to tend the braces on the 
booms, in hopes that a shot would take him before they got clear. 
He was about to have excused himself, but they threatened to shoot 
him; and when he expostulated, and jaimed their promise to put 


him on shore, he received an unmerciful beating from the quarter- 
master; Captain Taylor, to whom that duty belonged, being lame 
of his hands. 

The day following they met a Dutch galliot, laden with lime- 
stone, bound for Calicut, on board of which they put one Captain 
Fawkes; and some of the crew interceding for Mackra's officer, 
Taylor and his party replied-, " If we let this dog go, who has 
overheard our designs and resolutions, he will overset all our well- 
advised plans, and particularly this supply we are seeking for at 
the hands of the Dutch." 

When they arrived at Cochin, they sent a letter on shore by a 
fishing-boat, entered the road, and anchored, each ship saluting 
the fort with eleven guns, and receiving the same number in re- 
turn. This was the token of their welcome reception, and at night 
a large boat was sent, deeply laden with liquors and all kinds of 
provisions, and in it a servant of John Trumpet, one of their 
friends, to inform them that it would be necessary for them to run 
farther south, where they would be supplied both with provisions 
and naval stores. 

They had scarcely anchored at the appointed place, when several 
canoes, with white and black inhabitants, came on board, and 
continued without interruption to perform all the good offices in 
their power during their stay in that place. In particular, John 
Trumpet brought a large boat of arrack, and sixty bales of sugar, 
as a present from the governor and his daughter; the former re- 
ceiving in return a table-clock, and the other a gold watch, the 
spoil of Captain Mackra's vessel. When their provisions were all 
on board, Trumpet was rewarded with about six or seven thousand 
pounds, was saluted with three cheers, and eleven guns; and 
several handsful of silver were thrown into the boat, for the men 
to gather at pleasure. 

There being little wind that night, they remained at anchor, 
and in the morning were surprised with the return of Trumpet, 
bringing another boat equally well stored with provisions, with 
chests of piece-goods and ready-made clothes, and along with him 
the fiscal of the place. At noon they espied a sail towards the 
south, and immediately gave chase, but she out-sailed them, and 
sheltered under the fort of Cochin. Informed that they would not 
be molested in taking her from under the castle, they sailed towards 
her, but upon the fort firing two guns, they ran off for fear of 
more serious altercation, and returning, anchored in their for r 
nation. They were too welcome visitants to be permitted to de^~ , 


so long as John Trumpet could contrive to detain them. With 
this view he informed them, that in a few days a rich vessel, com- 
manded by the Governor of Bombay's brother, was to pass that 

That government is certainly in a wretched state, which is 
under the necessity of trading with pirates, in order to enrich 
itself; nor will such government hesitate by what means an injury 
can be repaired, or a fortune gained. Neither can language des- 
cribe the low and base principles of government which could 
employ such a miscreant as John Trumpet in its service. He was 
a tool in the hands of the government of Cochin ; and, as the dog 
said in the fable, " What is done by the master's orders, is the 
master's action ;" or, as the same sentiment is, perhaps, better ex- 
pressed in the legal axiom; " Qui facit per alium facit per se." 

While under the direction of Trumpet, some proposed to proceed 
directly to Madagascar, but others were disposed to wait until 
they should be provided with a store ship. The majority being of 
the latter opinion, they steered to the south, and seeing a ship on 
shore were desirous to get near her, but the wind preventing, they 
separated, the one sailing northward and the other southward, in 
hopes of securing her when she should come out, whatever direc- 
tion she might take. They were now, however, almost entrapped 
in the snare laid for them. In the morning, to their astonishment 
and consternation, instead of being called to give chase, five 
large ships were near, which made a signal for the pirates to bear 
down. The pirates were in the greatest dread lest it should be Cap- 
tain Mackra, of whose activity and courage they had formerly 
sufficient proof. The pirate ships, however, joined and fled with 
all speed from the fleet. In three hours' chase none of the fleet 
gained upon them, except one grab. The remainder of the day 
was calm, and, to their great consolation, this next day the dread- 
ed fleet was entirely out of sight. 

Their alarm being over, they resolved to spend the Christmas in 
feasting and mirth, in order to drown care, and to banish thought. 
Nor did one day suffice, but they continued their revelling for 
several days, and made so free with their fresh provisions, that in 
their next cruise they were put upon short allowance; and it was 
entirely owing to the sugar and other provisions that were in the 
leaky ship that they were preserved from absolute starvation. 

In this condition they reached the island of Mauritius, refitted 
the Victory, and left that place with the following inscription 
written upon one of the walls. " Left this place on the 5tn of 


April, to go to Madagascar for Limos." This they did lest any 
visit should be paid to that place during their absence. They, 
however, did not sail directly for Madagascar, but the island of 
Mascarius, where they fortunately fell in with a Portuguese of 
seventy guns, lying at anchor. The greater part of her guns had 
been thrown overboard, her masts lost, and the whole vessel dis- 
abled by a storm; she, therefore, became an easy prey to the 
pirates. Conde de Ericeira, Viceroy of Goa, who went upon the 
fruitless expedition against Angria the Indian, and several pas- 
sengers, were on board. Besides other valuable articles and 
specie, they found in her diamonds to the amount of four million 
of dollars. Supposing that the ship was an Englishman, the 
Viceroy came on board next morning, was made prisoner, and 
obliged to pay two thousand dollars as a ransom for himself and 
the other prisoners. After this he was set ashore, with an express 
engagement to leave a ship to convey him and his companions to 
another port. 

Meanwhile, the pirates received intelligence that a vessel was to 
the leward of the island, which they pursued and captured. But 
instead of performing their promise to the Viceroy, which they 
could easily have done, they sent the Ostender along with some of 
their men to Madagascar, to inform their friends of their success, 
with instructions to prepare masts for the prize ; and they soon 
followed, carrying two thousand negroes in the Portuguese vessel. 

Madagascar is an island larger than Great Britain, situated 
upon the eastern coast of Africa, abounding with all sorts of pro- 
visions, such as oxen, goats, sheep, poultry, fish, citrons, oranges, 
tamarinds, dates, cocoa-nuts, bananas, wax, honey, rice, cotton, 
indigo, and all other fruits common in that quarter of the globe ; 
ebony, of which lances are made, gums of several kinds, and 
many other valuable productions. Here, in St. Augustine's bay, 
the ships sometimes stop to take in water, when they make the 
inner passage to India, and do not intend to stop at Johanna. 

When the Portuguese ship arrived here, they received intelli- 
gence that the Ostender had taken advantage of an hour when the 
men were intoxicated, and risen upon them, and carried the ship 
to Mozambique, from whence the governor ordered her to Goa. 

The pirates now divided their plunder, receiving forty-two dia- 
monds per man, or in smaller proportion according to their mag- 
nitude. A foolish jocular fellow who had received a large diamond 
of the value of forty-two, was highly displeased, and so went and 


broke it in pieces, exclaiming, that he had many more shares 
than either of them. Some, contented with their treasure, and 
unwilling to run the risk of losing what they possessed, and per- 
haps their lives also, resolved to remain with their friends at 
Madagascar, under the stipulation that the longest livers should 
enjoy all the booty. The number of adventurers being now less- 
ened, they burned the Victory, cleaned the Cassandra, and try^ 
remainder went on board her under the command of Taylor, whom 
we must leave for a little while, in order to give an account of the 
squadron which arrived in India in 1721. 

When the commodore arrived at the cape, he received a letter 
that had been written by the Governor Pondicherry to the Gover- 
nor of Madras, informing him that the pirates were strong in the 
Indian seas; that they had eleven sail, and fifteen hundred men; 
but adding, that many of them retired about that time to Brazil 
and Guinea, while others fortified themselves at Madagascar, 
Mauritius, Johanna, and Mohilla; and that a crew under the 
command of Condin, in a ship called the Dragon, had captured a 
vessel with thirteen lacks of rupees on board, and having divided 
their plunder, had taken up their residence with their friends at 

Upon receiving this intelligence, Commodore Matthews sailed 
for these islands, as the most probable place of success. He 
endeavoured ineffectually to prevail on England, at St. Mary's, 
to communicate to him what information he could give respecting 
the pirates; but England declined, thinking that this would be 
almost to surrender at discretion. He then took up the guns of 
the Jubilee sloop that were on board, and the men-of-war made 
several cruises in search of the pirates, but to no purpose. The 
squadron was then sent down to Bombay, was saluted by the port, 
and after these exploits returned home. 

The pirate, Captain Taylor, in the Cassandra, now fitted up the 
Portuguese man-of-war, and resolved upon another voyage to the 
Indies; but, informed that four men-of-war had been sent after 
the pirates in that quarter, he changed his determination, and 
sailed for Africa. Arrived there, they put in at a place near the 
river Spirito Sancto, on the coast of Monomotapa. As there was 
no correspondence by land, nor any trade carried on by sea at 
this place, they thought that it would afford a safe retreat. To 
their astonishment, however, when they approached the shore, it 
Vinp in the dusk of the evening, they were accosted by sevcra 1 

Page 346 


shot. They immediately anchored, and in the morning saw that 
the shot had come from a small fort of six guns, which they attacked 
and destroyed. 

This small fort was erected by the Dutch East India Company 
a few weeks before, and committed to the care of a hundred and 
fifty men, the one half of whom had perished by sickness or other 
causes. Upon their petition, sixteen of these were admitted into 
the society of the pirates ; and the rest would also have been 
received, had they not been Dutchmen, to whom they had a rooted 

In this place they continued during four months, refitting their 
vessels, and amusing themselves with all manner of diversions, 
until the scarcity of their provisions awakened them to industry 
and exertion. They, however, left several parcels of goods to the 
starving Dutchmen, which Mynheer joyfully exchanged for provi- 
sions with the next vessel that touched at that fort. 

Leaving that place, they were divided in opinion what course to 
steer; some went on board the Portuguese prize, and, sailing for 
Madagascar, abandoned the pirate life ; and others going on board 
the Cassandra, sailed for the Spanish West Indies. The Mermaid 
man-of-war, returning from a convoy, got near the pirates, and 
would have attacked them, but a consultation being held, it was 
deemed inexpedient, and thus the pirates escaped. A sloop was, 
however, dispatched to Jamaica with the intelligence, and the 
Lancaster was sent after them; but they were some days too Jate, 
the pirates having, with all their riches, surrendered to the Gover- 
nor of Portobello. 

Calming their consciences, that others would have acted a similar 
part, without the least remorse, they took up their residence here, 
to spend the remainder of their days in living upon the spoil of 
nations. It is difficult to compute the injury done by this crew 
during five years. Whether to gratify their humour, to prevent 
intelligence, or from the want of men to navigate, or the brave 
resistance made, or from wanton folly and barbarity, the moment 
the resolution was formed, the vessels they captured were frequently 
sent to the bottom. After their surrender to the Spaniards, severa. 
of them left that place, and it is reported that Captain Taylor 
accepted of a commission in the Spanish service, and commanded 
the man-of-war that attacked the English .ogwood cutters in the 
bay cf Honduras. 


Was born in Monmouthshire, and, from a boy, trained to the w««l, 
His last voyage from England was in the sloop Cadogan from 
Bristol, in the character of chief mate. This vessel was captuted 
by the pirate England, upon the Guinea coast, whose companions 
plundered the crew, and murdered the captain, as already related 
in England's life. 

Upon the death of Captain Skinner, Davis pretended that he 
was urged by England to become a pirate, but that he resolutely 
refused. He added, that England, pleased with his conduct, had 
made him captain in room of Skinner, giving him a sealed paper, 
which he was not to open until he was in a certain latitude, and 
then expressly to follow the given directions. When he arrived in 
the appointed place, he collected the whole crew, and solemnly 
read hij sealed instructions, which contained a generous grant of 
the ship and all her stores to Davis and his crew, requesting them 
to go to Brazil, and dispose of the cargo to the best advantage, 
and make an equal division of the money. 

Davis then commanded the crew to signify whether they were 
inclined to follow that mode of life, when, to his astonishment 
and chagrin, the majority positively refused. Then, in a trans- 
port of rage, he desired them to go where they would. 

Knowing that part of the cargo was consigned to merchants in 
Barbadoes, they directed their course to that place. When arrived 
there, they informed the merchants of the unfortunate death of 
Skinner, and of the proposal which had been made to them. Davis 
was accordingly seized, and committed to prison, but he having 
never been in the pirate service, nothing could be proved to con- 
demn him, and he was discharged without a trial. Convinced 
that he could never hope for employment in that quarter after his 
aotection, he went to the island of Providence, which he knew to 
be a rendezvous for pirates. Upon his arrival there, he was griev- 
ously disappointed, because the pirates who frequented that place 
had just accepted his majesty's pardon, and had surrendered. 

Captain Kodgers having equipped two sloops for trade, Davis 
obtained employment in one of these, called the Buck. They 
were laden with European goods to a considerable value, which 
they were to sell or exchange with the French and the Spaniards. 


Ttiey first touched at the island of Martinique, belonging to the 
French, and Davis, knowing that many of the men were formerly 
in the pirate service, enticed them to seize the master, and to run 
off with the sloop. When they had effected their purpose, they 
hailed the other ship, in which they knew that there were many 
hands ripe for rebellion, and coming to, the greater part joined 
Davis. Those who did not choose to adhere to them were allowed 
to remain in the other sloop, and continue their course, after Davis 
had pillaged her of what things he pleased. 

In full possession of the vessel and stores and goods, a large 
bowl of punch was made ; under its exhilarating influence, it was 
proposed to choose a commander, and to form their future mode 
of policy. The election was soon over, and as a large majority of 
legal votes were in favour of Davis, and no scrutiny demanded, 
Davis was declared duly elected. He then drew up a code of 
laws, to which he himself swore, and required the same bond of 
alliance from all the rest of the crew. He then addressed them 
in a short and appropriate speech, the substance of which was, 
a proclamation of war with the whole world. 

They next consulted, what part would be the most convenient 
to clean the vessel, and it was resolved to repair to Coxon's Hole, 
at the east end of the island of Cuba, where they could remain in 
perfect security, as theentrance was so narrow that one ship could 
keep out a hundred. 

They, however, had no small difficulty in cleaning their vessel, 
as there was no carpenter among them. They performed that 
laborious task in the best manner they could, and then made to 
the north side of Hispaniola. The first sail they met with was a 
French ship of twelve guns, which they captured ; and while they 
were plundering her, another appeared in view. Enquiring of 
the Frenchmen, they learned that she was a ship of twenty-four 
guns and sixty men. Davis proposed to his crew to attack her, 
assuring them that she would prove a rich prize. This appeared 
to the crew such a hazardous enterprise, that they were rather ad- 
verse to the measure. But he acquainted them that he had con- 
ceived a stratagem that he was confident would succeed ; they 
might, therefore, safely leave the matter to his management. He 
then commenced chase, and ordered his prize to do the same. 
Being a better sailer, he soon came up with the enemy, and 
showed his black colours. With no small surprise at his insolence 
111 coming so near them, they commanded him to strike. He replied, 
that he was disposed to give them employment until his companion 


came up, who was able to contend with thein; meanwhile asiuring 
them that, if they did not strike to him, it would most certainly 
fare the worse with them: then giving them a broadside, he 
received the same in return. 

When the other pirate ship drew near, they, according to the 
directions of Davis, appeared upon deck in white shirts, which 
making an appearance of numbers, the Frenchmen were intimi- 
dated, and struck. Davis ordered the captain with twenty of fits 
men to come on board, and they were all put in irons except the 
captain. He then despatched four of his men to the other ship, 
and called aloud to them, desired that his compliments should be 
given to the captain, with a request to send a sufficient number of 
hands to go on board their new prize, to see what they had got in 
her. At the same time, he gave them a written paper with their 
proper instructions, even to nail up all the small guns, to take out 
all the arms and powder, and to go every man on board the new 
prize. When his men went on board her, he ordered the greater 
part of the prisoners to be removed into the empty vessels, and 
by this means secured himself from any attempt to recover their 
ship. , 

During three days, these three vessels sailed in company, but 
finding that his late prize was a heavy sailer, he emptied her of 
every thing that he stood in need of. and then restored her to the 
captain with all his men. The French captain was so enraged at 
being thus miserably deceived, that, upon the discovery of the 
stratagem, he would have thrown himself overboard, had not his 
men prevented him. 

Gaptain Davis then formed the resolution of parting with the 
other prize-ship also, and soon afterwards steered northward, and 
took a Spanish sloop, He next directed his course towards the 
western islands, and from Cape de Verd islands cast anchor at St. 
Nicholas, and hoisted English colours. The Portuguese supposed 
that he was a privateer, and Davis going on shore was hospitably 
received, and they traded with him for such articles as they found 
most advantageous. He remained here five weeks, and he and 
half of his crew visited the principal town of the island. Davis, 
from his appearing in the dress of a gentleman, was greatly ca» 
ressed by the Portuguese, and nothing was spared to entertain 
and render him and his men happy. Having amused themselves 
during a week, they returned to the ship, and allowed the other 
half of the crew to visit the capital, and enjoy themselves in a 
u*<? manner. Upon their return, they cleaned their ship and pui 

captain davis. 349 

lo sea, but four of the men were so captivated with the ladies ana 
the luxuries of the place, that they remained in the island, and 
one of them married and settled there. 

Davis now sailed for Bonavista, and perceiving nothing in that 
harbour steered for the Isle of May. Arrived there, he found 
several vessels in the harbour, and plundered them of whatever 
he found necessary. He also received a considerable reinforce- 
ment of men, the greater part of whom entered willingly into the 
piratical service. He likewise made free with one of the ships, 
equipped her for his own purpose, and called her the King James. 
Davis next proceeded to St. Jago to take in water. Davis with 
some others going on shore to seek water, the governor came to 
inquire who they were, and expressed his suspicion of their being 
pirates. Upon this, Davis seemed highly affronted, and express- 
ed his displeasure in the most polite but determined manner. He, 
however, hastened on board, informed his men, and suggested 
the possibility of surprising the fort during the night. According- 
ly, all his men being well-armed, they advanced to the assault; 
and, from the carelessness of the guards, they were in the gar- 
rison before the inhabitants were alarmed. Upon the discover^ 
of their danger, they took shelter in the governor's house, and 
fortified it against the pirates: but the latter throwing in somt 
granado shells, ruined the furniture, and killed several people. 

The alarm was calculated in the morning, and the country 
assembled to attack them; but unwilling to stand a siege, the pi- 
rates dismounted the guns, pillaged the fort, and fled to their 

When at sea, they mustered their hands, and found that they 
were seventy strong. They then consulted among themselves 
what course they should steer, and were divided in opinion ; but 
by a majority it was carried to sail for Gambia, on the coast of 
Guinea. Of this opinion was the captain, who having been em- 
ployed in that trade, was acquainted with the coast; and informed 
his companions, that there was always a large quantity of money 
deposited in that castle, and he was confident, if the matter was 
entrusted to him, he should successfully storm that fort. From 
their experience of his former prudence and courage, they cheer- 
fully submitted to his direction in the full assurance of success. 

Arrived at Gambia, he ordered all his men below, except just so 
many as were necessary to work the vessel, that those from the 
luit, seeing so few hands, might have no suspicion that she was 
any other than a trading- vessel. He then ran under the fort r^? 


cast anchor, and having ordered out the boat, manned with six 
men indifferently dressed, he, with the master and doctor, dressed 
themselves like gentlemen, in order that the one party might look 
like foremastmen, and the other like merchants. In rowing ashore, 
he instructed his men what to say if any questions were put to 
them by the garrison. 

On reaching land, the party was conducted by a file of musqu^- 
teers into the fort, and kindly received by the governor, who 
inquired what they were, and whence they came? They replied, 
that they were from Liverpool, and bound for the river Senegal, 
to trade for gum and elephants' teeth; but that they were chased 
on that coast by two French men-of-war, and narrowly escaped 
being taken. " We were now disposed," continued Davis, " to 
make the best of our voyage, and would willingly trade here for 
slaves." The governor then inquired what were the principal 
articles of their cargo. They replied, that they were iron and 
plate, which were necessary articles in that place. The governor 
then said, that he would give them slaves for all their cargo; and 
asked if they had any European liquor on board. They answered, 
that they had a little for their own use, but that he should have a 
hamper of it. He then treated them with the greatest civility, 
and desired them all to dine with him. Davis answered, that as 
he was commander of the vessel, it would be necessary for him to 
go down to see if she was properly moored, and to give some other 
directions; but that these gentlemen might stay, and he would 
return before dinner, and bring the hamper with him. 

While in the fort, his eyes were keenly employed to discover 
the position of the arms, and how the fort might most successfully 
be surprised. He discovered that there was a sentry standing 
near a guard-house, in which there were a quantity of arms heaped 
up in a corner, and that a considerable number of small aims 
were in the governor's hall. When he went on board, he ordered 
some hands on board a sloop lying at anchor, lest, hearing any 
bustle they should come to the aid of the castle; then desiring his 
men to avoid too much liquor, and to be ready when ho should 
hoist the flag from the walls, to come to his assistance, he proceeded 
to the castle. 

Having taken these precautions and formed these arrangements, 
he ordered every man who was to accompany him to arm himself 
with two pair of pistols, which he himself also did, concealed 
under their clothes. He then directed them to go into the guard- 
room, and fall into conversation, and immediately upon his firing 


a pistol out of the governor's window, to shut the men up, and 
secure the arms in the guard- room. 

When Davis arrived, dinner not being ready, the governor pro- 
posed that they should pass the time in making a bowl of punch, 
Davis's boatswain attending him, had an opportunity of visiting 
all parts of the house, and observing their strength. He *L : s- 
pered his intelligence to his master, who, being surrounded by his 
own friends, and seeing the governor unattended by any of his 
retinue, presented a pistol to the breast of the latter, informing 
him that he was a dead man, unless he should surrender the fort 
and all its riches. The governor thus taken by surprise, was com- 
pelled to submit; for Davis took down all the pistols that hung in 
the hall, and loaded them. He then fired his pistol out of the 
window. His men flew like lions, presented their pistols to the 
soldiers, and while some carried out the arms, the rest secured 
the military, and shut them all up in the guard-house, placing a 
guard on the door. Then one of them struck the union Hag on 
the top of the castle, which the men from the vessel perceiving, 
rushed to the combat, and in an instant were in possession of the 
castle, without tumult or bloodshed. 

Davis then harangued the soldiers, many of whom enlisted with 
him; and those who declined, he put on board the small ships, and 
to prevent the necessity of a guard, or the possibility of escape, 
carried off the sails, rigging, and cables. 

That day being spent in feasting and rejoicing, the castle solut- 
ing the ship, and the ship the castle, on the day following they 
proceeded to examine the contents of their prize. They, however, 
were greatly disappointed in their expectations, a large sum of 
money having been sent off a few days before. But they found 
money to the amount of about two thousand pounds in gold, and 
many valuable articles of different kinds. They carried on board 
their vessel whatever they deemed useful, gave several articles to 
the captain and crew of the small vessel, and allowed them to 
depart, while they dismounted the guns, and demolished the forti- 

After doing all the mischief that their vicious minds could pos- 
sibly devise, they weighed anchor; but in the mean time, perceiving 
a sail bearing towards them with all possible speed, they hastened 
to prepare for her reception, and made towards her. Upon her 
near approach they discovered that she was a French pirate of 
fourteen guns and sixty four men, the one half French and the 
other half negroes. 


The Frenchman was in high expectations of a rich prize, birt 
when he came nearer, he suspected, from the number of her guna 
and men, that she was a small English man-of-war; he determined, 
notwithstanding-, upon the bold attempt of boarding her, and 
immediately fired a gun, and hoisted his black colours: Davis 
imaieu.dtely returned the compliment. The Frenchman was highly 
gratified at this discovery ; both hoisted out their boats, and •con- 
gratulated each other. Mutual civilities and good offices past, 
and the French captain proposed to Davis to sail down the coast 
with him, in order to look out for a better ship, assuring him that 
the very first that could be captured should be his, as he was always 
willing to encourage an industrious brother. 

They first touched at Sierra Leone, where they espied a large 
vessel, and Davis being the swifter sailer, came first up with her. 
He was not a little surprised that she did not endeavour to make 
oft", aud began to suspect her strength. When he came alongside 
of hei, she fired a whole broadside, and hoisted black colours. 
Davis did the same, and fired a gun to leeward. The satisfaction 
of these brothers in iniquity was mutual, at having thus acquired 
so much additional strength and ability to undertake more for- 
midable adventures. Two days were devoted to mirth and song, 
and upon the third, Davis and Cochlyn, the captain of the new- 
confederate, agreed to go in the French pirate ship to attack the 
fort. When they approached, the men in the fort, apprehensive 
of their character and intentions, fired all the guns upon them at 
once. The ship returned the fire, and afforded employment until 
the other two ships arrived, when the men in the fort seeing such 
a number on board, lost courage and abandoned the fort to the. 
mercy of the robbers. 

They took possession, remained there seven weeks, and cleaned 
their vessels. They then called a council of war, to deliberate 
concerning future undertakings, when it was resolved to sail down 
tne coast in company; and, for the greater regularity and grandeur, 
Davis was chosen Commodore. That dangerous enemy, strong 
drink, had well nigh, however, sown the seeds of discord among 
Miese affectionate bretheren. But Davis, alike prepared for coun- 
cil or for war, addressed them to the following purport: " Hear 
ye, you Cochlyn and La Boise, (which was the name of the 
French captain) 1 find, by strengthening you, I have put a rod 
into your hands to whip myself: but I am still able to deal with 
you both; however, since we met in love, let us part in love; for 
I find that three of a trade can never agree long together." Upon 


this, the other two went on board of their respective ships, and 
steered different courses. 

Davis held down the coast, and reaching Cape Appolonia, he 
captured three vessels, two English and one Scottish, plundered 
them and allowed them to proceed. In five days after he met with 
a Dutchman of thirty guns and ninety men. She gave Davis a 
broadside, and killed nine of his men; a desperate engagement 
ensued, which continued from one o'clock at noon until nine next 
morning, when the Dutchman struck. 

Davis equipped her, for the pirate service, and called her " The 
Rover." With his two ships he sailed for the bay of Anamaboa, 
which he entered about noon, and took several vessels which were 
there waiting to take in negroes, gold, and elephants' teeth. 
Davis made a present of one of these vessels to the Dutch cap- 
tain and his crew, and allowed them to go in quest of their 
fortune. When the fort had intelligence that they were pirates, 
they fired at them, but without any effect; Davis fired also, and 
hoisted the black colours, but deemed it prudent to depart. 

The next day after he left Anamaboa, the man at the mast- 
head discovered a sail. It may be proper to inform our readers, 
that, according to the laws of pirates, the man who first discovers 
a vessel, is entitled to the best pair of pistols in the ship, and such 
is the honour attached to these, that a pair of them has been 
known to sell for thirty pounds. 

Davis pursued that vessel, which being between him and the 
shore, laboured hard to run aground. Davis perceiving this, got 
between her and the land, and fired a broadside at her, when she 
immediately struck. She proved to be a very rich prize, having 
on board the Governor of Acra, with all his substance, going to 
Holland. There was in money to the amount of fifteen thousand 
pounds, besides a large quantity of merchant goods, and other 
valuable articles. 

Before they reached the Isle of Princes, the St. James sprang 
a leak, so that the men and the valuable articles were removed 
into Davis's own ship. When he came in sight of the fort he 
hoisted English colours. The Portuguese, seeing a large ship 
sailing towards the shore, sent a sloop to discover her character 
and destination. Davis informed them, that he was an English 
man-of-war, sent out in search of some pirates which they had 
heard were in this quarter. Upon this, he was piloted into the 
port, and anchored below the guns at the fort. The governor was 
nappy to have Englishmen in his harbour; and to do honour to 

A A 


Davis, sent down a file of musqueteers to escourthim into the fort, 
while Davis, the more to cover his design, ordered nine men, 
according to the custom of the English, to row him on shore. 

Davis also took the opportunity of cleaning and preparing all 
things for renewing his operations. He, however, could not con- 
tentedly leave the fort, without receiving some of the riches of 
the island. He formed a scheme to accomplish his purpose,«and 
communicated the same to his men. His design was to make the 
governor a present of a few negroes in return for his kindness; 
then to invite him, with a few of the principal men and friars 
belonging to the island, to dine on board his ship, and secure 
them all in irons, until each of them should give a large ransom. 
They were accordingly invited, and very readily consented to go : 
and deeming themselves honoured by his attention, all that were 
invited, would certainly have gone aboard. Fortunately however, 
for them, a negro, who was privy to the horrid plan of Davis, 
swam on shore during the night, and gave information of the dan- 
ger to the governor. 

Under present circumstances, the governor thought proper to 
dissemble his indignation, and to wait the event. The day ar- 
rived, and Davis, the better to secure his prey, and to delude his 
intended guests on board, along with his fellow nobles, (a title 
which Davis and his principal officers had assumed,) went on 
shore to bring the governor and the rest on board to dinner : when 
they were desired to walk up to the fort to take a little refresh- 
ment. An ambush was laid for them, and a whole volley being 
fired at them, every man fell except one, who ran back and gained 
the boat. Davis was wounded in the bowels, and, in his dying 
agony, fired his pistols at his pursuers. 


Bartholomew Roberts was trained to a seafaring life. Among 
other voyages which he made during the time that he lawfully 
procured his maintenance, he sailed for the Guinea coast, iu No- 
vember, 1719, where he was taken by the pirate Davis. He was 
at first very averse from that mode of life, and would certainly 
have deserted, had any opportunity occurred. It happened to him, 


however, as to many upon another element, that preferment calm- 
ed conscience, and reconciled him to that which he formerly 

Davis having fallen in the manner related, those who had as- 
sumed the title of Lords assembled to deliberate concerning the 
choice of a new commander. There were several candidates, 
who, by their services, had risen to eminence among their bre- 
thren, and each of them thought himself quallified to bear rule. 
One addressed the assembled Lords, saying, " That the good of 
the whole, and maintenance of order, demanded a head, but that 
the proper authority was deposited in the community at large ; so 
that if one should be elected who did not act and govern for the 
general good, he could be deposed, and another be substituted in 
his place." 

" We are the original," said he, " of this claim, and should a 
captain be so saucy as to exceed prescription at any time, why, 
down with him ! It will be a caution, after he is dead, to his suc- 
cessors, to what fatal results any undue assumption may lead; 
however, it is my advice, while we are sober, to pitch upon a man 
of courage, and one skilled in navigation, — one who, by his pru- 
dence and bravery, seems best able to defend this commonwealth, 
and ward us from the dangers and tempests of an unstable element, 
and the fatal consequences of anarchy; and such a one I take 
Roberts to be : a fellow in all respects worthy of your esteem and 
' favour." 

This speech was applauded by all but Lord Simpson, who had 
himself strong expectations of obtaining the highest command. 
He at last, in a surly tone, said, he did not regard whom they 
chose as a commander, provided he was not a papist, for he had 
conceived a mortal hatred to papists, because his father had been 
a sufferer in Monmouth's rebellion. 

Thus, though Roberts had only been a few weeks among them, 
his election was confirmed by the Lords and Commons. He, with 
the best face he could, accepted of the dignity, saying, " that 
"ince he had dipped his hands in muddy water, and must be a 
pirate, it was better being a commander than a private man." 

The governor being settled, and other officers chosen in the room 
of those who had fallen with Davis, it was resolved not to leave 
this place without revenging his death. Accordingly, thirty men, 
under the command of one Kennedy, a bold and profligate fellow, 
landed, and under cover of the fire of the ship, ascended the hill 
upon which the fort stood. Thev were no sooner discovered by 


the Portuguese, than they abandoned the fort, and took shelter in 
the town. The pirates then entered without opposition, set fire to 
the fort, and tumbled the guns into the sea. 

Not satisfied with this injury, some proposed to land and set the 
town in flames. Roberts, however, reminded them of the great 
danger to which this would inevitably expose them; that there was 
a thick wood at the back of the town, where the inhabitants ffiuld 
hide themselves, and that, when their all was at stake, they would 
make a bolder resistance; and that the burning or destroying of a 
few houses, would be a small return for their labour, and the loss 
that they might sustain. This prudent advice had the desired 
effect, and they contented themselves with lightening the French 
vessel, and battering down several houses of the town, to show 
their high displeasure. 

Roberts sailed southward, captured a Dutch Guineaman, and, 
having emptied her of every thing they thought proper, returned 
her to the commander. Two days after he captured au English 
ship, and, as the men joined in pirating, emptied and burned the 
vessel, and then sailed for St. Thomas. Meeting with no prize, 
he sailed for Anamaboa, and there watered and repaired. Having 
again put to sea, a vote was taken whether they should sail for the 
East Indies or for Brazil. The latter place was decided upon, and 
they arrived there in twenty-eight days. 

Upon this coast our rovers cruised for about nine weeks, keeping 
generally out of sight of land, but without seeing a sail; which 
discouraged them so, that they determined to leave the station, 
and steer for the West Indies; and, in order thereto, they stood 
in to make the land for the taking of their departure, by which 
means they fell in, unexpectedly, with a fleet of forty-two sail of 
Portuguese ships, off the Bay of Los Todos Santos, with all their 
lading in for Lisbon; several of them of good force, who lay there 
waiting for two men-of-war of seventy guns each for their convoy. 
However, Roberts thought it should go hard with him but he would 
make up his market among them, and thereupon, he mixed with 
the fleet, and kept his men concealed till proper resolutions could 
be formed; that done, they came close up to one of the deepest, 
and ordered her to send the master on board quietly, threatening 
to give them no quarter, if any resistence or signal of distress was 
made. The Portuguese, being surprised at these threats, and the 
sudden flourish of cutlasses from the pirates, submitted without a 
word, and the captain came on board. Roberts saluted him in a 
friendly manner, telling him that they were gentlemen of fortune, 


and that their business with him was only to be informed wnich was 
the richest ship in that fleet; and if he directed them right, he 
should be restored to his ship without molestation, otherwise he 
must expect instant death. 

He then pointed to a vessel of forty guns, and a hundred and 
fifty men; and though her strength was greatly superior to Roberts, 
yet he made towards her, taking the master of the captured vessel 
along with him. Coming alongside of her, Roberts ordered the 
prisoner to ask, li How Seignior Captain did?" and to invite him 
on board, as he had a matter of importance to impart to him. He 
was answered, " That he would wait upon him presently." Ro- 
berts, however, observing more than ordinary bustle on board, at 
once concluded they were discovered, and pouring a broadside into 
her, they immediately boarded, grappled, and took her. She was 
a very rich prize, laden with sugar, skins, and tobacco, with four 
thousand moidores of gold, besides other valuable articles. 

In possession of so much riches, they now became solicitous to 
find a safe retreat in which to spend their time in mirth and wan- 
tonness. They determined upon a place called the Devil's Islands, 
upon the river Surinam, where they arrived in safety, and met 
with a kind reception from the governor and the inhabitants. 

In this river they seized a sloop, which informed them that she 
had sailed in company with a brigantine loaded with provisions. 
This was welcome intelligence, as their provisions were nearly 
exhausted. Deeming this too important a business to trust to 
foreign hands, Roberts, with forty men in the sloop, gave chase 
to that sail. In the keenness of the moment, and trusting to his 
usual good fortune, Roberts supposed that he had only to take a 
short sail, in order to bring in the vessel with her cargo; but to his 
sad disappointment, he pursued her during eight days, and instead 
of gaining, was losing way. Under these circumstances, he came 
to anchor, and sent off the boat to give intelligence of their distress 
to their companions. 

In their extremity of want, they took up part of the floor in the 
cabin, and patched up a sort of tray with rope-yarns, to paddle on 
shore to get a little water to preserve their lives. When their 
patience was almost exhausted, the boat returned, but instead of 
provisions, brought the unpleasing information, that the lieutenant, 
one Kennedy, had run off with both the ships. 

The misfortune and misery of Roberts were greatly aggravated 
by reflecting upon his own imprudence and want of foresight, as 
well as from the baseness of Kennedy and his crew. Impelled by 


tiie necessity of his situation, he now began to reflect upon the 
means he should employ for future support. Under the foolish 
supposition that any laws, oaths, or regulations, could bind those 
who had bidden open defiance to all divine and human laws, he 
proceeded to form a code of regulations, for the maintenance of 
order and unity in his little commonwealth. 

But present necessity compelled to action, and with their small 
sloop they sailed for the West Indies. They were not long before 
they captured two sloops, which supplied them with provisions, 
and a few days after, a brigantine, and then proceeded to Barba- 
does. When off that island they met a vessel of ten guns, richly 
laden from Bristol ; after plundering, and detaining her three days, 
they allowed her to prosecute her voyage. This vessel, however, 
informed the governor of what had befallen them, who sent a vessel 
of twenty guns and eighty men in quest of the pirates. That 
vessel was commanded by one Rogers, who, on the second day of 
his cruise, discovered Roberts. Ignorant of any vessel being sent 
after them, they made towards each other, Roberts gave him a 
gun, but instead of striking, the other returned a broadside, with 
three huzzas. A severe engagemect ensued, and Roberts being 
hard put to it, lightened his vessel and ran off. 

Roberts then sailed for the Island of Dominica, where he watered, 
and was supplied by the inhabitants with provisions, for which he 
gave them goods in return. Here he met with fifteen Englishmen 
left upon the island by a Frenchman, who had made a prize of 
their vessel; and they, entering into his service, proved a season- 
able addition to his strength. 

Though he did not think this a proper place for cleaning, yet as 
it was absolutely necessary that it should be done, he directed his 
course to the Granada Islands for that purpose. This, however, 
had well nigh proved fatal to him ; for the Governor of Martinique 
fitted out two sloops to go in quest of the pirates. They, however, 
sailed to the above-mentioned place, cleaned with unusual dispatch, 
and just left that place the night before the sloops arrived. 

They next sailed for Newfoundland, arriving upon the banks 
in June, 1720, and entered the harbour of Trepassi, with their 
black colours flying, drums beating, and trumpets sounding. In 
that harbour there were no less than twenty-two ships, which the 
men abandoned upon the sight of the pirates. It is impossible to 
describe the injury which they did at this place, by burning or 
sinking the ships, destroying the plantations, and pillaging the 


Roberts reserved a Bristol galley from his depredations in the 
harbour, which he fitted and manned for his own service. Upon 
the banks he met ten sail of French ships, and destroyed them all, 
except one of twenty-six guns, which he seized and carried off, and 
called her the Fortune. Then giving the Bristol galley to the 
Frenchman, they sailed in quest of new adventures, and soon took 
several prizes, and out of them increased the number of their own 
hands. The Samuel, one of these, was a very rich vessel, having 
some respectable passengers on board, who were roughly used, and 
threatened with death if they did not deliver up their money and 
their goods. They stripped the vessel of every article to the amount 
of eight or nine thousand pounds. They then deliberated whether 
to sink or burn the Samuel, but in the mean time they discovered 
a sail, so they left the empty Samuel, and gave the other chase. 
At midnight they overtook her, and she proved to be the Snow from 
Bristol; and, because he was an Englishman, they used the mas- 
ter in a cruel and barbarous manner. Two days after, they took 
the Little York of Virginia, and the Love of Liverpool, both of 
which they plundered and sent off. In three days they captured 
three other vessels, removing the goods out of them, sinking one, 
and sending off the other two. 

They next sailed for the West Indies, but provisions growing 
short, proceeded to St. Christopher's, when being denied provisions 
by the governor, they fired on the town, and burnt two ships in the 
roads. They then repaired to the Island of St. Bartholomew, 
where the governor supplied them with every necessary, and caress- 
ed them in the kindest manner. Satiated with indulgence, and 
having taken in a large stock of every thing necessary, they una- 
nimously voted to hasten to the coast of Guinea. In their way 
they took a Frenchman, and as she was fitter for the pirate service 
than their own, they informed the captain, that, as " a fair exchange 
was no robbery," they would exchange sloops with him ; accord- 
ingly, having shifted their men, they set sail. However, going 
by mistake out of the track of the trade winds, they were under 
the necessity of returning to the West Indies. 

They now directed their course to Surinam, but not having 
sufficient water for the voyage, they were soon reduced to a mouth- 
ful of water a day; their numbers daily diminished by thirst and 
famine, and the few who survived were reduced to the greatest 
weakness. They at last had not one drop of water or any other 
liquid, when, to their inexpressible joy, they anchored in seven 
fathoms of water. This tended to revive exhausted nature, and 


inspire them with new vigour, though as yet tney had received a*- 
relief. In the morning they discovered land, but at such a distance 
that their hopes were greatly damped. The boat was however sent 
off, and at night returned with plenty of that necessary element. 
But this remarkable deliverance produced no reformation in the 
manners of these unfeeling and obdurate men. 

Steering their course from that place to Barbadoes, in their w^y 
they met with a vessel which supplied them with all necessaries. 
Not long after, they captured a brigantine, the mate of which 
joined their association. Having from these two obtained a large 
supply- they changed their course and watered at Tobago. In- 
formed, however, that there were two vessels sent in pursuit of 
them, they went to return their compliments to the Governor of 
Martinique for this kindness. 

It was the custom of the Dutch interlopers, when they ap- 
proached this island to trade with the inhabitants, to hoist their 
jacks. Roberts knew the signal, and did so likewise. They, sup- 
posing that a good market was near, strove who could first reach 
Roberts. Determined to do them all possible mischief, he destroyed 
them one by one, as they came into his power. He only reserved 
one ship to send the men on shore, and burnt the remainder to the 
number of twenty. 

Roberts and his crew were so fortunate as to capture several 
vessels, and to render their liquor so plentiful, that it was esteemed 
a crime against providence not to be continually drunk. One man, 
remarkable for his sobriety, along with two others, found an oppor- 
tunity to set off, without taking leave of their friends. But a des- 
patch being sent after them, they were brought back, and in a for- 
mal manner tried and sentenced, but one of them was saved by the 
humorous interference of one of the judges, whose speech was truly 
worthy of a pirate, — while the other two suffered the punishment of 

When necessity again competed them, they renewed their cruis- 
ing ; and, dissatisfied with capturing vessels, which only afforded 
them a temporary supply, directed their course to the Guinea coast 
to forage for gold. Intoxication rendered them unruly, and the 
brigantine at last embraced the cover of night to abandon the com- 
modore. Unconcerned at the loss of his companion, Roberts pur- 
sued his voyage. He fell in with two French ships, the one of ten 
guns and sixty-five men, and the other of sixteen guns and seventy- 
five men. These dastards no sooner beheld the black flag than they 
surrendered. With these they went into Sierra Leone, constituting 


one of them a consort, by the name of the Ranger, and the other 
a store-ship. This port being frequented by the greater part of 
the traders to that quarter, they remained here six weeks, enjoying 
themselves in ail the splendour and luxury of a piratical life. 

After this they renewed their voyage, and having captured a 
vessel, the greater part of the men united their fortunes with the 
pirates. After several cruises they went into a convenient harbour 
at Old Calabar, where they cleaned, refitted, divided their booty, 
and for a considerable time caroused, to banish care and sober 

According to their usual custom, the time of festivity and mirth 
was prolonged until the want of means recalled them to reason and 
exertion. Leaving this port, they cruised from place to place with 
varied success; but in all their captures, either burning, sinking, 
or devoting their prizes to their own use, according to the whim of 
the moment. The Swallow and another man-of-war being sent out 
expressly to pursue and take Roberts and his fleet, he had frequent 
and certain intelligence of their destination ; but having so often 
escaped their vigilance, he became rather too secure and fearless. 
It happened, however, that while he lay off Cape Lopez, the Swal- 
low had information of his being in that place, and made towards 
him. Upon the appearance of a sail one of Robert's ships was 
sent to chase and take her. The pilot of the Swallow seeing her 
coming, manoeuvred his vessel so well, that though he fled at her 
approach, in order to draw her out of the reach of her associates, 
yet he at the same time allowed her to overtake the man-of-war. 

Upon her coming up to the Swallow, the pirate hoisted the black 
flag, and fired upon her ; but how greatly were the crew astonished, 
when they saw they had to contend with a man-of-war, and seeing 
that all resistance was vain, they cried out for quarter, which was 
granted, and they were all made prisoners, having ten men killed 
and twenty wounded, without the loss or hurt of one of the king's 

On the 10th in the morning, the man-of-war bore away to round 
the cape. Robert's crew, discerning their masts over the land, 
went down into the cabin to acquaint him of it, he being then at 
breakfast with his new guest, Captain Hill, on a savoury dish of 
salmagundy and some of his own beer. He took no notice of it, 
and his men almost as little, some saying she was a Portuguese 
ship, others a French slave ship, but the major part swore it was 
the French Ranger returning; and they were merrily debating 
for some time on the manner of reception, whether they should 


salute her or not ; but as the Swallow approached nearer, things 
appeared plainer; and though they who showed any apprehension 
of danger were stigmatized with the name of cowards, yet some 
of them now undeceived, declared it to Roberts, especially one 
Armstrong, who had deserted from that ship, and knew her well. 
These Roberts swore at as cowards, who meant to dishearten the 
men, asking them, if it were so, whether they were afraid to 
fight or not ? In short, he hardly refrained from blows. What his" 
own apprehensions were, till she hauled up her ports and hoisted 
her proper colours, is uncertain; but then, being perfectly con- 
vinced, he slipped his cable, got under sail, ordered his men to 
arms without any show of timidity, dropping a first-rate oath, 
that it was a bite, but at the same time resolved, like a gallant 
rogue, to get clear or die. 

There' was one Armstrong, as was just mentioned, a deserter 
from the Swallow, of whom they enquired concerning the trim and 
sailing of that ship; he told them she sailed best upon the wind, 
and therefore, if they designed to leave her, they should go 
before it. 

The danger was imminent, and the time very short, to consult 
about means to extricate himself ; his resolution in this strait was 
as follows : to pass close to the Swallow with all her sails, and 
receive her broadside before they returned a shot; if disabled by 
this, or if they could not depend on sailing, then to run on shore 
at the point, and every one to shift for himself among the negroes; 
or failing in these, to board, and blow up together, for he saw that 
the greatest part of his men were drunk, passively courageous, 
and unfit for service. 

Roberts himself made a gallant figure at the time of his engage- 
ment, being dressed in a rich crimson damask waistcoat and 
breaches, a red feather in his hat, a gold chain round his neck, with 
diamond cross hanging to it, a sword in his hand, and two pair of 
pistols hanging at the end of a silk sling flung over his shoulders, 
according to the custom of the pirates. 

He is said to have given his orders with boldness and spirit. Com- 
ing, according to what he had purposed, close to the man-of-war, 
he received her fire, and then hoisted his black flag and retained 
it, shooting away from her with all the sail she could pack; and 
had he taken Armstrong's advice to have gone before the wind, ho 
had probably escaped; but keeping his tacks down, either by the 
wind's shifting, or ill steerage, or both, he was taken aback with 
his sails, arid the Swallow came a second time very nigh to him. 


He had now, perhaps, finished the fight very desperately, if death, 
who took a swift passage in a grape shot, had not interposed, and 
struck him directly on the throat. He settled himself on tne 
tackles of a gun; which one Stephenson, from the helm, observing, 
ran to his assistance, and not perceiving him wounded, swore at 
him, and bade him stand up and fight like a man ; but when ne 
found his mistake, and that his captain was certainly dead, he 
burst into tears, and wished the next shot might be his portion. 
They presently threw him overboard, with his arms and ornaments 
on, according to his repeated request in his life-time. 

The prisoners were strictly guarded while on board, and being 
conveyed to Cape Coast castle, they underwent a long and solemn 
trial. The generality of them remained daring and impenitent 
for some time, but when they found themselves confined within a 
castle, and their fate drawing near, they changed their 'course, 
and became serious, penitent, and fervent in their devotions. 
Though the judges found no small difficulty in explaining the law^ 
and different acts of parliament, yet the facts were so numerous 
and flagrant which were proved against them, that there was no 
difficulty in bringing in a verdict of guilty. 


It was mentioned in the life of Captain Roberts, that, embracing 
the opportunity of his absence, the crew of the brigantine ran off, 
and made one Kennedy their captain. This originated from the 
following cause. Captain Roberts was insulted by one of his crew 
when drunk, and, in the violence of his passion, killed the inSulter 
upon the spot. Many in the ship were displeased, but particularly 
one Jones, the comrade of the man who was slain. When this 
accident happened, Jones was on land for water, and upon his 
return, being informed of what had been done, he being a bold 
active fellow, cursed Roberts, saying that he ought to have been 
so served himself. Roberts being present, attacked Jones with his 
sword, and wounded him. Irritated beyond measure by the former 
and present injury, Jones, though wounded, seized the captain, 
threw him over a gun, and gave him a severe drubbing. The 
whole ship was in an instant thrown into violent commotion, some 
taking part with *he captain, and some applauding tne spirit anri 


bravery of Jones. " If the one had received a dry chastisement, 
the other had some of his blood shed. Nor was the provocation 
upon the one side equal to that upon the other. And, with regard 
to the captain's rank, if he acted inconsistently with his dignity 
and power, he was not to be exempted from punishment. Such 
were the sentiments that were agitated among the crew during the 
tumult. The quarter- master, employing his authority and influ- 
ence, calmed the tumult, and the majority were of opinion that the 
majesty of the vessel was insulted in the person of their captain, 
and that no private member was at liberty to resent any injury 
received from him in the manner which Jones had done. The 
majority, therefore, sentenced Jones to receive two lashes from 
every man in the ship, as soon as his wound should be healed. 

The severity of this sentence did not convince Jones of its equity, 
and a deep-rooted enmity, and a resolution of revenge, ensuecf. 
To accomplish his design, Jones, with a few who were of his senti- 
ments, confederated with Captain Anstis of the brigantine, whom 
they knew also to be disaffected to Roberts, from the haughty 
manner in which he behaved. Nor was it merely by his domineer- 
ing conduct that he irritated Anstis; he was likewise accustomed 
to leave him nothing but the refuse of the plunder when any prize 
was taken, though his activity and bravery had perhaps gained 
the booty. In short, the disaffection became so general, that 
Lieutenant Kennedy headed the party, and eloped with the priva- 
teer and the prize, in the absence of Roberts. Kennedy was cho- 
sen Captain, and a division of sentiments ensued, whether they 
should retire from that mode of life, or pursue their depredations. 
But as there was no pardon then issued for pirates, they were con- 
strained to retain their present character. 

The first act of the new government was to grant liberty to the 
Portuguese prize. The master was, in their language, a very 
honest fellow, who, upon his being taken, accosted them, saying 
that they were welcome to his ship and cargo, and expressed his 
wish that the vessel had been larger, and the lading richer, for 
their sakes. In addition to these good wishes, he had given them 
intelligence of the brigantine after which Roberts had now gone, 
and though she should never become a prize, yet it had given them 
an opportunity to move away, without being saluted by the well- 
known voice of Captain Roberts. In return for all these favours, 
he received, his ship and men, with his vessel half laden; aiui 
having expressed his gratitude in the most obliging terms, fa 


In the Rover, Captain Kennedy sailed to Barbadoes, and near 
ihat island met with a very peaceable prize, commanded by captain 
Knot, a Quaker. There was neither sword, pistol, nor cutlass on 
ooard. After taking what he found most necessary, he allowed 
tne placid Quaker to meditate his way home. Meanwhile, eight 
cf the pirates embraced this opportunity to leave the Rover, and 
were by him carried to Virginia. During their voyage, they made 
him handsome presents, and also made several gifts to the saiiors, 
and lived in a merry and jovial manner all the way, Knot not 
daring to interrupt them, lest they should run off with him and 
his vessel. 

When they arrived off the island, four of the pirates went up 
the bay towards Maryland, and lived among the planters undis- 
covered. Captain Knot though he could not, according to his 
principles, fight, could yet deceive and inform. Accordingly, 
leaving four of the pirates on board, he went to the governor, and 
informed him of what passengers he had on board. They were 
instantly seized, and search being made after the other four, they 
also were found carousing and rambling about the country. Two 
Portuguese Jews, whom they had captured upon the coast of Brazil, 
and had brought along with them, were the principal evidences 
against them. The honest Quaker, at the same time, surrendered 
to them every thing which belonged to them, and gave them pre- 
sents in lieu of those they had bestowed upon him and his men. 

Not long after, Kennedy, cruising upon the coast of Jamaica, 
met with a sloop bound from Boston with bread and flour. Upon 
this occasion, all those who were disposed to disperse the company 
went on board, and among the rest Captain Kennedy, — of whom, 
having been educated as a pick-pocket and house-breaker before 
he entered the pirate service, his companions now began to enter- 
tain such a mean conception, that they were about to throw him 
overboard, saying that he would inform upon them all the moment 
he arrived in England. By solemn oaths and protestations he, 
however, assuaged their rage, and they allowed him to accompany 

It was their misfortune to have only one man on board who knew 
any thing of navigation, and even he proved to be a novice. 
Kennedy was chosen captain on account of his courage and bravery, 
but he was so ignorant that he could neither read nor write. The 
pilot was desired to steer towards Ireland, but instead of this, he 
ran to the north coast of Scotland ; and having been tossed about 
for several days, they thrust the ship into a creek, and all went on 
shore, leaving her a prize to any who choie to take her. 


They passed themselves for shipwrecked mariners, refreshed 
themselves at the first village, and might have passed without 
detection, had it not been for their unruly and riotous manner of 
living. Kennedy and another man left them and shipped for Ire- 
land, where they arrived in safety. A few more separated and 
went to London ; but the body of the gang continued together, and 
drinking, rioting and debauchery, alarmed the country. In softie 
places they treated the whole village, throwing away their money 
like stones or sand. Continuing their extravagant course, about 
eighteen of them were apprehended in the vicinity of Edinburgh, 
and upon suspicion thrown into prison. Two became king's evi- 
dence, and the rest were tried, condemned, and executed. 

Kennedy having wasted all his money, left Ireland and kept 
an infamous house in Deptford road. It was also supposed that 
he occasionally exacted contributions upon the highway. He 
was exposed to the same misfortune as befalls all those who asso- 
ciate with persons of abandoned lives and dishonourable princi- 
ples. One of the females in his house informed upon him as a 
robber; nor was she disposed to do her work partially, but finding 
a man whom Kennedy had robbed when a pirate, she took him to 
visit the latter in Bridewell, where he had been thrown for the 
robbery. He identified Kennedy, who was committed to the Mar- 
shalsea prison. 

Kennedy, in order to save his life, turned king's evidence; but 
though he informed upon eight or ten of his companions, only one 
could be found, who was a sober man and forced into the service, 
and therefore pardoned. Kennedy was not so fortunate, but, 
inasmuch as he had been an old and notorious offender, was con- 
demned and executed. 

Those who remained in the Rover soon abandoned her upon the 
coast of the West Indies, and she was found strolling at sea by a 
sloop near St. Christopher's island. The greater part of the crew 
met the fate they deserved. 


In a small open boat, with only eight companions, Worley entered 
upon service. Provided with six old muskets, and corresponding 
ammunition, with a few biscuits, one or two dried tongues, and a 
keg of water they left New York in September, 1718, and sailec 


towards Delaware river. Though the distance is about fifty miles, 
tney met with no prey, so they went up the river as far as Newcas- 
tle. Near this place they captured a shallop with household goods 
and plate, and having emptied her of every thing valuable, they 
permitted her to depart. As this was not done upon the high seas, 
it could not be construed piracy. The shallop conveyed the 
intilligence to New York, which alarming government, several 
vessels were fitted out to go in quest of this formidable rover. But 
he was not yet destined to be taken; for, after several days cruis- 
ing, the government vessels returned without their prize. 

In sailing down the river, Worley met with a sloop bound for 
Philadelphia, and quitting his own shallop, he and his men went 
on board the sloop, and increased their strength by the hands 
which were in her. In a few days they took a sloop homeward 
bound for Hull, with all manner of provisions, which enabled them 
to undertake some bolder scheme. 

Upon the success of these pirates, the government issued a 
proclamation for apprehending all pirates who refused to surrender 
upon a specified day. To follow out the intention of this procla- 
mation, a vessel of twenty guns was fitted out to cruise upon the 
coast, and to protect the trade. Informed of this, Worley and his 
men stood out to sea. In their cruise, they captured a sloop and a 
brigantine; the former they sunk, as she belonged to New York, 
and might inform upon them; and they permitted the other to 
prosecute her voyage. 

Worley was now in reality become formidable. He had tw r enty- 
five men, six guns, plenty of small arms, and a good vessel. 
Accordingly, he assumed a more systematic plan, hoisted black 
colours, formed certain regulations, and swore every man to stand 
to his colours, and receive no quarter. 

They now went into an inlet, in North Carolina to clean their 
vessel; and the government receiving intelligence of their being 
in that place, two sloops, one of eight and another of six guns, 
manned with seventy men, were sent in search of them. Worley 
was gone before they arrived, but, tracing his course, they dis- 
covered him off the Capes of Virginia. Upon the supposition that 
they were two vessels intending to enter St. James's river, Worley 
hastened to get between them and that entrance of the river, in 
order to secure his prize. The inhabitants of St. James's Town, 
supposing that all three were pirates, and that they would land to 
plunder and destroy the country, the governor ordered all the vessels 
to haul into the shore, unless they thought that they were in a 


situation to fight the pirates. He beat to arms, collected all the 
force that could be mustered, erected a temporary battery with the 
guns of the ships, and put the island in a posture of defence. But 
to their surprise they soon saw what they imagined to be pirates 
fighting with each other. 

Meanwhile, as Worley was waiting at the entrance of the river, 
with the black colours flying, to seize the two vessels as they 
approached, to his sad mortification they hoisted king's colours, 
and fired a gun. Thus he found, that, instead of entrapping others, 
he himself was entrapped and hemmed in by a superior force. 
Agreeably to their engagements to each other, the pirates deter- 
mined to conquer or die. 

The two sloops gave him a broadside, and immediately boarded, 
the one upon the quarter, the other upon the bow. Worley and 
his men drew up on deck, and fought it hand to hand, in a most 
desperate manner. They were true to their oath; not a man 
called for quarter, and many were slain before they could be over- 
come ; not one survived, except the captain and another man, who 
were both severely wounded. They were brought on shore in irons, 
and, lest they should have died of their wounds, were hanged the 
following day, in the month of February, 1719. Thus, Worley's 
beginning was bold and desperate, his course short and prosperous, 
and his end bloody and disgraceful. 


George Lowther sailed from the Thames, in the character of 
second mate, in the Gambia Castle of sixteen guns and thirty 
men, belonging to the African Company. There were a number 
of soldiers under the command of John Massey, intended to gar- 
rison a fort which was destroyed by Captain Dawson. 

The Gambia Castle arrived safe, and landed Massey and his 
men; but the military power was overruled by the merchants and 
traders. To them it belonged to victual the garrison, and, being 
scanty in their allowance, Massey was highly offended, and re- 
monstrated in terms more suitable to his feelings than their 
interests. He boldly declared, that he had brought these brave 
men here under the assurance that they were to have plenty of 
provisions, and to be treated in the most huniaue manner ; the~e- 


fore, if they were not so treated, he should be under the necessity 
of consulting for himself. 

The Governor was then sick, and, for his better accommodation, 
was taken on board the Gambia Castle. During this period, the 
captain being offended with George Lowther, his second mate, 
ordered him to be punished. The men interfered in behalf of 
Lowther, and the captain was disobeyed. Lowther and Massey 
having become intimate during the voyage, they now aggravated 
their grievances to each other, and the result of their consulta- 
tion was to seize the ship, and sail for England. 

When matters were ripe for execution, Lowther sent a letter to 
Massey, informing him, " that he must repair on board, as it was 
now time to put their design into execution." Massey then ha- 
rangued the soldiers in the barracks, saying, " You that have a 
mind to go to England, now is the time." They in general 
agreed, and when all things were ready he sent the boat off with 
this message to the chief mate, " That he should get the guns 
ready, for that the King of Barro would come on board to dinner." 
Lowther knew the meaning; confined the chief mate, and pre- 
pared to sail. In the afternoon, Massey came on board with the 
governor's son, having almost emptied the storehouses, and dis- 
mounted the guns of the fort. 

The captain of the Gambia Castle, having gone on shore to hold 
a council with the governor and others, was not permitted to come 
on board. He called to Lowther and his associates, and offered 
them what terms they chose, to restore the ship ; — but all in vain. 
They put the governor's son on shore, with three others who did 
not choose to go along with them, and immediately sailed. 

Scarcely were they out at sea, when Lowther addressed them to 
the following effect : " That it was the greatest folly imaginable 
to think of returning to England; for that what they had already 
done could not be justified upon any pretence whatever, but would 
be looked upon by the government as a capital offence, and none 
of them were in a condition to withstand the attacks of such power- 
ful adversaries as they would meet with at home. For his part, 
he told them he was determined not to run such a hazard; and 
therefore, if his proposal was not agreed to, he desired to be set 
on shore in some place of safety; that they had a good ship under 
them, a parcel of brave fellows in her ; that it was not their busi- 
ness to starve or be made slaves ; and therefore, if they were ail 
of his mind, they would seek their fortunes upon the seas, as 
otner adventurers had done before them." The crew was unani- 

B B 


mous, knocked down the cabins, prepared black colours, an" 
named the ship " The Delivery." She was mounted with sixteen 
guns, and had fifty hands on board. 

To enforce order, and to provide for the stability of this govern- 
ment, several articles were drawn up, signed, and sworn to ; and 
they soon began their operations, by capturing a vessel belonging 
to Boston, which, having emptied her stores, they allowed to 

Proceeding to Hispaniola, the Delivery met with a French vessel 
laden with wine and brandy. In the character of a merchant, 
Captain Massey went on board, viewed the liquors, and offered a 
price for the greater part of them, which was not accepted. But 
after a while he whispered in the Frenchman's ear, " that they must 
have them all without money." The captain understood his mean- 
ing, and with no small reluctance agreed to the bargain. They 
took out of her about seventy pounds, besides thirty casks of 
brandy, five hogsheads of wine, several pieces of chintzes, and 
other valuable goods. Lowther returned five pounds to the French- 
man for his civility. 

But this commonwealth was soon to experience the effects of 
discord. Massey had been trained a soldier, and was solicitous to 
move in his own sphere ; he therefore proposed to land with fifty 
or sixty men, and plunder the French settlements. Lowther re- 
presented the rashness, imprudence, and impracticability of such 
an adventure. Massey remained absolute in his determination. 
It became necessary to decide the matter by a reference to the 
community. A great majority were of the opinion of Lowther. 
But though overruled, Massey was not convinced, so became frac- 
tious and quarrelled with Captain Lowther. The men also were 
divided; some were land pirates, and some sea pirates, and ere 
long, they were prepared to decide the matter with the sword. 

But employment terminated dissension. The man at the mast- 
head cried, "a sail! a sail!" In a few hours, they came up with 
her, and found that she was bound for England. They supplied 
themselves with necessaries, and took a few hands out of her. 
Lowther proposed to sink her and all the passengers on board, but 
Massey interfered, and prevented this cruel action. Accordingly, 
she was permitted to depart, and arrived safe in England. 

The next day they captured a small sloop, and detained her. 
Massey still remaining uneasy, and declaring his resolution to 
leave the Delivery, Lowther proposed that he and all those who 
were of his sentiments would go on board the sloop which they hnH 


just taken, and seek their own fortunes. This was instantly agreed 
to, and Massey with ten more went on board, and sailed directly 
for Jamaica. With a bold countenance he went to the governor, 
and informed him that he had assisted in running off with the ves- 
sel; but his object was to save the lives of His Majesty's subjects, 
and that his express design was to land them in England; that in 
opposition to this determination, Lowther and the majority were 
for becoming pirates; and that he had embraced the first oppor- 
tunity to leave them, and surrender himself, his men, and his ves- 
sel to his excellency. 

Massey was kindly received, and sent along with Captain Laws 
to cruise in quest of Lowther, but not finding him, returned to 
Jamaica, received certificates of his surrender, and came home a 
passenger to England. When he came to town, he wrote a nar- 
rative of the whole matter to the African Company, who returned 
him for answer, " That he should be fairly hanged." He was 
accordingly seized, and, upon his own letter, the evidence of the 
late captain of the ship, who had been left at the fort, the gover- 
nor's son, and some others, he was condemned to end his course 
at Tyburn. 

Lowther cruising off Hispaniola, captured a small ship from 
Bristol and a Spanish pirate. He rifled and burned both ships, 
sending the Spaniards away in their launch, and constraining the 
Englishmen to turn pirates. In a few days they took another 
sloop, which they manned and carried along with them, and then 
harboured at the small island to clean. Here they spent their 
time more like demons than men, in all manner of debauchery, 
drunkenness, and rioting. 

Having again set to sea, they met with Edward Low, a pirate, 
in a small vessel with thirteen hands; and, upon the request of 
Lowther, he united his strength with theirs. Lowther retaining 
the command, and Low becoming Lieutenant. 

Proceeding on their voyage, they met with a vessel of two 
hundred tons, called the Greyhound, commanded by Benjamin 
Edwards. Piratical colours were hoisted, and she was commanded 
to strike. The captain declined, — an engagement ensued, but 
finding the pirates too strong for him, he surrendered. Instead of 
treating the captain and his men with generous lenity, they beat 
them in a merciless manner, drove them on board their own ship, 
and then set fire to it. 

In their course they took several other ships, rifled and dismissed 
them; but two they fitted up for their own service. With this 


small fleet: viz. Admiral Lowther in the Happy Delivery; Captain 
Low in the Rhode Island sloop; and Captain Harris (who was 
second mate in the Greyhound) in a sloop formerly belonging to 
Jamaica,— they sailed to Port Mayo in the gulf of Matique, and 
made preparations to clean their vessels: with this view they made 
tents of their sails, stored their provisions in tent also, and then 
commenced their operations. But scarcely were they at wo*k, 
when a body of the natives came down upon them, drove them to 
their ships, seized their tents and stores, and set fire to the Delivery, 
which was stranded on shore. Lowther and his men now went on 
board the largest sloop, called the Ranger, and left the other at sea. 
They were soon reduced to great want, and commotion ensued; but 
when they had got to the West Indies, they took a prize, which 
supplied their wants, and having sunk her, sailed for America. 

They, in a short time, captured a brigantine, and the compauy 
being divided in their sentiment^ Low and those who were of his 
views, got on board the prize, and went off, while those who agreed 
with Lowther remained in the Ranger. On his way to the main 
land of America, Lowther took several ships with very little resis- 
tance, but upon the coast of South Carolina he met with a ship 
bound for England. An engagement took place, and Lowther 
was so hard pressed, that he was under the necessity of running 
aground, and landing his men; but when the captain of the Eng- 
lish vessel had taken the boat in order to burn the pirate ship, a 
bullet from the pirates on shore put an end to his life, which so 
discouraged his men, that they returned to their vessel. 

After their departure, Lowther got off his sloop, though in a 
very shattered condition, having suffered much in the engagement, 
and many of his men having been killed or wounded. With no 
small difficulty he went to an inlet in North Carolina, where he 
remained during the winter. 

In spring he again took to sea, steered to Newfoundland, took 
several vessels of similar importance, and in his way to the West 
Indies captured a brigantine, plundered her, took two men into 
their own ship, and sent her off. Having cruised a considerable 
time, it was necessary to clean, and for that purpose he went into 
the isle of Blanco. While they were keenly employed in this work, 
the Eagle sloop, belonging to the South Sea Company, with thirty- 
five men, attacked Lowther, and constrained bin to cry for quarter. 
While they were surrendering, Lowther and twelve of the crew 
escaped out of the cabin-window, and fled to the woods. Five of 
them were taken, but the rest remained upon the island. 


Informed of this meritorious action on the part of the sloop, the 
Spanish government condemned the ship to the crew of the Eagle, 
and sent a small sloop to the island with twenty-five men to search 
the woods for the other pirates. Three others were found, but 
Captain Lowther with three men and a boy escaped. As the captain 
was afterwards found dead with a pistol beside him, it is supposed 
that in desperation he had shot himself. 

The Eagle sloop brought the prisoners to St. Christopher's, where 
they were all tried in March, 1722: three were acquitted, eleven 
found guilty, and two recommended to mercy. 


Sailed with Lowther for some time, and left him in company with 
Low. He was quarter-master, and consequently had a large share 
in all the barbarities of that execrable crew. He quarrelled with 
Low concerning one of the men who had killed another; Spriggs 
insisting that he should be hanged, and the other that he should not. 
After this dispute, Spriggs took an opportunity to leave him in the 
night, along with eighteen men, having seized upon the Delight, 
a prize of twelve guns. 

Scarcely were they beyond the reach of Lowther and his crew, 
when Spriggs was elected captain, black colours hoisted, and the 
guns fired as a salute to themselves and their captain. In their 
way to the West Indies they took a Portuguese bark, laden with 
rich plunder, and after using the men in a cruel and barbarous 
manner, they put them into the boat with a small quantity of pro- 
visions, and set the ship on fire. 

They took another vessel belonging to Barbadoes, which they 
plundered, used the men also in a most barbarous manner, then 
put them into the boat, left them to the mercy of the waves, and 
set fire to the ship. Some of the men signed their articles, and 
joined their association. The next capture was a ship from Mar- 
tinique, and though they did not burn the vessel, the men were 
used in the same cruel manner. Some days after, they took one 
coming from Jamaica, robbed her of stores, arms, ammunition, 
and every thing they pleased, and what they did not think useful, 
they threw overboard. They forced the two mates and several other 
hands into their service, and then sent her off. They were not 


more fortunate in gaining prizes, than they were wantonly cruel 
to the men. A sloop from Rhode Island fell into their hands: they 
constrained all the men to join them, but the mate, being a grave 
sober man, resolutely declined. He was then informed that he 
should be allowed to go with his discharge written upon his back, — 
this was a lash from every man in the ship, which was rigorously 
put in execution. % 

The next day one of the mates taken out of the prize signed 
their articles, which was deemed a great acquisition, for he was a 
good artist. They gave three huzzas, fired all the guns, and ap- 
pointed him master. The day was devoted to feasting and carous- 
ing, and, among other healths, that of George II. was drunk. It 
had been related to them that the old king was dead, and they 
expected a general pardon upon the accession of the new sovereign. 
Thus they proclaimed his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, 
saying, that " they doubted not but there would be a general par- 
don in twelve months, which they would embrace, and come in 
upon ; but if they should be excepted from it, they would murder 
every Englishman that should fall into their hands." 

Not long after, they espied a sail, and gave her chase. They 
supposed that she was a Spaniard, and so gave her a broadside. 
But a lamentable cry for quarters being heard from every part of 
the ship, they ceased firing. How mortified, however, were the 
rogues, when they found that it was the same vessel that they had 
sent away not worth a penny. Enraged at this disappointment, 
about fifteen of these cruel wretches attacked the captain with 
sharp cutlasses, and would certainly have put an end to his life, 
had not Burridge, his former mate, rushed in among the thickest 
of them, and begged for his life. In the madness of their rage, 
they made a bonfire of the ship, and even when they went down 
to supper, they called down the unfortunate captain, to have some 
more cruel sport at his expence. In two days they anchored at an 
uninhabited island, and, with a musket and some ammunition sent 
on shore the captain and several of his men, who subsisted there 
for some time, and were then taken off by one Jones. 

Spriggs now anchored at a small island and cleaned, and then 
sailed in search of the Eagle sloop, which had taken Lowther at 
Blanco, with the determined resolution to put the captain to death 
as soon as found, for attacking his friend and brother. But a ves- 
sel which he pursued under the impression that it was the Eagle 
sloop, to his surprise proved to be a French man-of-war, on which 
bnrtgga crowded all the sail he could: he would, however, have 


been taken, had not the main topmast of the Frenchman been 

Spriggs then sailed northward, captured a schooner belonging to 
Boston, took out the men, sunk the vessel, and having taken 
another sloop, used the men in the most cruel and barbarous man- 
ner, hoisting them as high as the main and fore-tops, and letting 
them fall upon the deck. After serving them in this manner, they 
whipped them about the deck until they themselves were fatigued, 
and then allowed all of them to go except two men. 

They next captured a vessel from Rhode Island with provisions 
and some horses. The brutal pirates mounted the horses and 
rode at full gallop upon the deck, cursing, swearing, and holloo- 
ing, until the animals became infuriated, and threw their riders. 
They then wreaked their vengeance upon the men, cutting and 
beating them in a barbarous manner, and telling them it was for 
bringing horses without boots and spurs, for want of which they 
were not able to ride them. In this manner these unnatural 
wretches continued their cruelties as long as they could maintain 
community, to the disgrace of human nature, and to the sad sor- 
row of all who were so unfortunate as to fall into their hands. 


This man was a native of Ireland, and was trained up to the sea. 
When arrived at manhood, he was concerned with some others in 
insuring ships to a great value, and then destroying them. From 
a fore-mast man he was raised to be a mate in a vessel that traded 
between Ireland and France. In this situation he acquired a com- 
fortable subsistence, and might have passed his days in respecta- 
bility and usefulness; but the love of money, which has often 
proved the origin of ruin, excited him to abandon the path of 

Having formed the design of becoming pirate, he communicated 
the same to one Neal, a fisherman at Cork, an ignorant and des- 
perate villain. Neal enticed one Peter Cullen and his brother into 
the confederacy, and also one Francis Wise. They directed their 
attention to a French vessel lying in the harbour, Peter Tartoue 
captain, because there were few hands in her, and, though she 
was not suitable for the pirate service, yet they hoped soon to be 
able to exchange her for one more convenient for their purpose. 


Accordingly, in November, 1721. all things being concerted, 
ihey entered passengers on board her, bound for Nantz; and 
Roche being an experienced sailor, the master often trusted him 
with the care of the vessel, while he and the mate went to rest. 
Upon one of these occasions, Roche and his confederates embraced 
the opportunity to effect their cruel purpose. The mind of Francis 
Wise began to relent, and he endeavoured to dissuade them fftm 
their nefarious design. Roche was however determined, and said, 
that he and Cullen had suffered great losses at sea, and were re- 
solved to have them repaired ; and if there were any fisherman 
there who would not join in killing the French rogues, and run- 
ning away with the vessel, he should certainly share their fate ; 
but on the contrary, if they stood true, they should partake of the 

Upon this they all agreed. Meanwhile, Roche commanded 
three of the Frenchmen and a boy to hand the top-sails. The 
two who first came down were knocked on the head, and thrown 
overboard ; upon seeing this, the other two ran up to the top-mast 
head. Cullen followed, threw the boy into the water, and driving 
down the other man, he was immediately despatched. Those who 
were sleeping below being aroused by the tumult, and the shrieks 
of expiring men, rushed up; but before they could apprehend 
their danger, they were bound together, and, imploring mercy, 
were also thrown overboard. They were now, as Roche himself 
confessed, all over as wet with the blood that had been spilt, as if 
they had been dipped in water, or stood in a shower of rain; nor 
did they regard it with any other feeling. 

This horrible massacre being finished, Roche was made captain, 
Cullen was to assume the character of a merchant, and the name 
of Peter Roche was inserted in the papers of the ship. In vain 
they endeavoured to obtain a few hands from a vessel, under the 
pretence that some of their men had been swept overboard. By a 
storm they were constrained to put into Dartmouth in England, 
and set men to work to alter the form of the vessel, so that she 
should not be known ; and in order to obtain money to pay the 
workmen, they disposed of several barrels of beef which were in 
the ship. 

They next steered their course for Rotterdam, and disposed of 
the remaining part of the cargo. From this port they freighted 
for England, by one Annesly, a merchant, who went passenger 
aiong with them. But these execrable villains, in a stormy night, 
threw biia overboard. He swam long round the ship, and en- 


treated them to spare his life, and all his goods should be at their 
disposal, but they remained unmoved by his entreaties and cries. 

They were afterwards under the necessity of coming to the coast 
of France, and received the intelligence that inquiry had been 
made after them. Roche abandoned the vessel to Cullen, and 
went on shore. Cullen having obtained some more hands, sailed 
for Scotland, and then left the vessel, which was afterwards carried 
into the Thames. 

Roche came to London, and while endeavouring to recover some 
money under a feigned name, was arrested, examined, and prov- 
ed to be the person who had run off with the French vessel. At- 
tempting to turn king's evidence, Neal and Cullen were